Saint's Progress eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 367 pages of information about Saint's Progress.
the curtains, and let in the moon light.  Jimmy and that girl were out in it some where, seeking each other, if not in body, then in thought.  And soon, somehow, somewhere, they would come together—­come together because Fate meant them to!  Fate which had given her young cousin a likeness to herself; placed her, too, in just such a hopeless position as appealed to Jimmy, and gave him a chance against younger men.  She saw it with bitter surety.  Good gamblers cut their losses!  Yes, and proud women did not keep unwilling lovers!  If she had even an outside chance, she would trail her pride, drag it through the mud, through thorns!  But she had not.  And she clenched her fist, and struck out at the night, as though at the face of that Fate which one could never reach—­impalpable, remorseless, surrounding Fate with its faint mocking smile, devoid of all human warmth.  Nothing could set back the clock, and give her what this girl had.  Time had “done her in,” as it “did in” every woman, one by one.  And she saw herself going down the years, powdering a little more, painting a little more, touching up her hair, till it was all artifice, holding on by every little device—­and all, to what end?  To see his face get colder and colder, hear his voice more and more constrained to gentleness; and know that underneath, aversion was growing with the thought ‘You are keeping me from life, and love!’ till one evening, in sheer nerve-break, she would say or do some fearful thing, and he would come no more.  ‘No, Jimmy!’ she thought; ’find her, and stay with her.  You’re not worth all that!’ And puffing to the curtains, as though with that gesture she could shut out her creeping fate, she turned up the light and sat down at her writing table.  She stayed some minutes motionless, her chin resting on her hands, the dark silk fallen down from her arms.  A little mirror, framed in curiously carved ivory, picked up by her in an Indian bazaar twenty-five years ago, hung on a level with her face and gave that face back to her.  ‘I’m not ugly,’ she thought passionately, ’I’m not.  I still have some looks left.  If only that girl hadn’t come.  And it was all my doing.  Oh, what made me write to both of them, Edward and Jimmy?’ She turned the mirror aside, and took up a pen.

My dear Jimmy,” she wrote:  “It will be better for us both if you take a holiday from here.  Don’t come again till I write for you.  I’m sorry I made you so much disturbance to-night.  Have a good time, and a good rest; and don’t worry.  “Your—­”

So far she had written when a tear dropped on the page, and she had to tear it up and begin again.  This time she wrote to the end—­“Your Leila.”  ‘I must post it now,’ she thought, ’or he may not get it before to-morrow evening.  I couldn’t go through with this again.’  She hurried out with it and slipped it in a pillar box.  The night smelled of flowers; and, hastening back, she lay down, and stayed awake for hours, tossing, and staring at the dark.

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Saint's Progress from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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