Ragged Lady — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about Ragged Lady — Volume 2.

He came back late in the afternoon, looking jaded and distraught.  Hinkle, who looked neither, was with him.  “Well,” he began, “this is the greatest thing in my experience.  Belsky’s not only alive and well, but Mr. Gregory and I are both at large.  I did think, one time, that the police would take us into custody on account of our morbid interest in the thing, and I don’t believe we should have got off, if the Consul hadn’t gone bail for us, so to speak.  I thought we had better take the Consul in, on our way, and it was lucky we did.”

Clementina did not understand all the implications, but she was willing to take Mr. Hinkle’s fun on trust.  “I don’t believe you’ll convince Mrs. Landa that Mr. Belsky’s alive and well, till you bring him back to say so.”

“Is that so!” said Hinkle.  “Well, we must have him brought back by the authorities, then.  Perhaps they’ll bring him, anyway.  They can’t try him for suicide, but as I understand the police, here, a man can’t lose his hat over a bridge in Florence with impunity, especially in a time of high water.  Anyway, they’re identifying Belsky by due process of law in Rome, now, and I guess Mr. Gregory”—­he nodded toward Gregory, who sat silent and absent “will be kept under surveillance till the whole mystery is cleared up.”

Clementina responded gayly still, but with less and less sincerity, and she let Hinkle go at last with the feeling that he knew she wished him to go.  He made a brave show of not seeing this, and when he was gone, she remembered that she had not thanked him for the trouble he had taken on her account, and her heart ached after him with a sense of his sweetness and goodness, which she had felt from the first through his quaint drolling.  It was as if the door which closed upon him shut her out of the life she had been living of late, and into the life of the past where she was subject again to the spell of Gregory’s mood; it was hardly his will.

He began at once:  “I wished to make you say something this morning that I have no right to hear you say, yet; and I have been trying ever since to think how I could ask you whether you could share my life with me, and yet not ask you to do it.  But I can’t do anything without knowing—­You may not care for what my life is to be, at all!”

Clementina’s head drooped a little, but she answered distinctly, “I do ca’e, Mr. Gregory.”

“Thank you for that much; I don’t count upon more than you have said.  Clementina, I am going to be a missionary.  I think I shall ask to be sent to China; I’ve not decided yet.  My life will be hard; it will be full of danger and privation; it will be exile.  You will have to think of sharing such a life if you think—­”

He stopped; the time had come for her to speak, and she said, “I knew you wanted to be a missionary—­”

“And—­and—­you would go with me?  You would”—­He started toward her, and she did not shrink from him, now; but he checked himself.  “But you mustn’t, you know, for my sake.”

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Ragged Lady — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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