“Much?” She looked at him eagerly.
“Yes, I do.” His answer sounded quite genuine.
“Will it hurt you if I don’t?”
“Of course it will.”
“Thank heaven for that,” she said quietly.
“You honestly mean you won’t?”
“It makes me sick with laughing just to imagine it! I’ve done some hard little thinking, lately, my friend—particularly last night, and still more particularly this morning since that man was here. I’d cut my throat before I’d go with you. If you had your divorce I wouldn’t marry you—not if you were the last man on earth!”
“Cora,” he cried, aghast, “what’s the matter with you? You’re too many for me sometimes. I thought I understood a few kinds of women! Now listen: I’ve offered to take you, and you can’t say——”
“Offered!” It was she who came toward him now. She came swiftly, shaking with rage, and struck him upon the breast. “`Offered’! Do you think I want to go trailing around Europe with you while Dick Lindley’s money lasts? What kind of a life are you `offering’ me? Do you suppose I’m going to have everybody saying Cora Madison ran away with a jail-bird? Do you think I’m going to dodge decent people in hotels and steamers, and leave a name in this town that—Oh, get out! I don’t want any help from you! I can take care of myself, I tell you; and I don’t have to marry you! I’d kill you if I could—you made a fool of me!” Her voice rose shrilly. “You made a fool of me!”
“Cora——” he began, imploringly.
“You made a fool of me!” She struck him again.
“Strike me,” he said. “I love you!”
“Cora, I want you. I want you more than I ever——”
She screamed with hysterical laughter. “Liar, liar, liar! The same old guff. Don’t you even see it’s too late for the old rotten tricks?”
“Cora, I want you to come.”
“You poor, conceited fool,” she cried, “do you think you’re the only man I can marry?”
“Cora,” he gasped, “you wouldn’t do that!”
“Oh, get out! Get out now! I’m tired of you. I never want to hear you speak again.”
“Cora,” he begged. “For the last time——”
“No! You made a fool of me!” She beat him upon the breast, striking again and again, with all her strength. “Get out, I tell you! I’m through with you!”
He tried to make her listen, to hold her wrists: he could do neither.
“Get out—get out!” she screamed. She pushed and dragged him toward the door, and threw it open. Her voice thickened; she choked and coughed, but kept on screaming: “Get out, I tell you! Get out, get out, damn you! Damn you, damn you! get out!”
Still continuing to strike him with all her strength, she forced him out of the door.