Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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Swithin looked at Rozsi—­her eyes were bright, her lips tremulous.  He slipped his hand along the table and touched her fingers.  Then she flashed a look at him—­appeal, reproach, tenderness, all were expressed in it.  Was she expecting him to dance?  Did she want to mix with the rift-raff there; wish him to make an exhibition of himself in this hurly-burly?  A voice said, “Good-evening!” Before them stood Kasteliz, in a dark coat tightly buttoned at the waist.

“You are not dancing, Rozsi Kozsanony?” (Miss Rozsi).  “Let me, then, have the pleasure.”  He held out his arm.  Swithin stared in front of him.  In the very act of going she gave him a look that said as plain as words:  “Will you not?” But for answer he turned his eyes away, and when he looked again she was gone.  He paid the score and made his way into the crowd.  But as he went she danced by close to him, all flushed and panting.  She hung back as if to stop him, and he caught the glistening of tears.  Then he lost sight of her again.  To be deserted the first minute he was alone with her, and for that jackanapes with the small head and the volcanic glances!  It was too much!  And suddenly it occurred to him that she was alone with Kasteliz—­alone at night, and far from home.  ‘Well,’ he thought, ‘what do I care?’ and shouldered his way on through the crowd.  It served him right for mixing with such people here.  He left the fair, but the further he went, the more he nursed his rage, the more heinous seemed her offence, the sharper grew his jealousy.  “A beggarly baron!” was his thought.

A figure came alongside—­it was Boleskey.  One look showed Swithin his condition.  Drunk again!  This was the last straw!

Unfortunately Boleskey had recognised him.  He seemed violently excited.  “Where—­where are my daughters?” he began.

Swithin brushed past, but Boleskey caught his arm.  “Listen—­brother!” he said; “news of my country!  After to-morrow....”

“Keep it to yourself!” growled Swithin, wrenching his arm free.  He went straight to his lodgings, and, lying on the hard sofa of his unlighted sitting-room, gave himself up to bitter thoughts.  But in spite of all his anger, Rozsi’s supply-moving figure, with its pouting lips, and roguish appealing eyes, still haunted him.

VIII

Next morning there was not a carriage to be had, and Swithin was compelled to put off his departure till the morrow.  The day was grey and misty; he wandered about with the strained, inquiring look of a lost dog in his eyes.

Late in the afternoon he went back to his lodgings.  In a corner of the sitting-room stood Rozsi.  The thrill of triumph, the sense of appeasement, the emotion, that seized on him, crept through to his lips in a faint smile.  Rozsi made no sound, her face was hidden by her hands.  And this silence of hers weighed on Swithin.  She was forcing him to break it.  What was behind her hands?  His own face was visible!  Why didn’t she speak?  Why was she here?  Alone?  That was not right surely.

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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