“Don’t,” he cried sharply, as if in physical agony. “You don’t know what you say—”
“I do, I do. I love you, love you,” she stormed. Passion, long stamped down, had arisen in all its might. The surging intensity of her nature was at white heat. It had broken all bonds, swept everything aside in its mad rush. “Take me with you. Take me with you—anywhere,” she panted passionately. She arose and caught him swiftly by the arm, forcing up her flaming face to his. “I don’t care what you are—I know what you will be. I’ve loved you from the first. I lied when I ever said I hated you. I’ll help you to make a new start. Oh, so hard! Try me. Try me. Take me with you. You are all I have. I can’t give you up. I won’t! Take me, take me. Do, do, do!” Her head thrown back, she forced a hungry arm about his neck and strove to drag his lips to hers.
He caught both wrists and eyed her. She was panting, but her eyes met his unwaveringly, gloriously unashamed. He fought for every word. “Don’t—tempt—me—Sue. Good God, girl! you don’t know how I love you. You can’t. Loved you from that night in the train. Now I know who you were, what you are to me—everything. Help me to think of you, not of myself. You must guard yourself. I’m tired of fighting—I can’t——”
“It’s the girl up North?”
He drew back. He had forgotten. He turned away, head bowed. Both were fighting—fighting against love—everything. Then Sue drew a great breath and commenced to shiver.
“I was wrong. You must go to her,” she whispered. “She has the right of way. She has the right of way. Go, go,” she blazed, passion slipping up again. “Go before I forget honor; forget everything but that I love.”
Garrison turned. She never forgot the look his face held; never forgot the tone of his voice.
“I go. Good-by, Sue. I go to the girl up North. You are above me in every way—infinitely above me. Yes, the girl up North. I had forgotten. She is my wife. And I have children.”
He swung on his heel and blindly flung himself upon the waiting gelding.
Sue stood motionless.
Garrison himself again.
That night Garrison left for New York; left with the memory of Sue standing there on the moonlit pike, that look in her eyes; that look of dazed horror which he strove blindly to shut out. He did not return to Calvert House; not because he remembered the girl’s advice and was acting upon it. His mind had no room for the past. Every blood-vessel was striving to grapple with the present. He was numb with agony. It seemed as if his brain had been beaten with sticks; beaten to a pulp. That last scene with Sue had uprooted every fiber of his being. He writhed when he thought of it. But one thought possessed him. To get away, get away, get away; out of it all; anyhow, anywhere.