“Please get up. You’re making a fool of yourself and you’re making me feel a perfect idiot.”
“I love you, Philip. I want to make up for all the harm I did you. I can’t go on like this, it’s not in human nature.”
He slipped out of the chair and left her in it.
“I’m very sorry, but it’s too late.”
She gave a heart-rending sob.
“But why? How can you be so cruel?”
“I suppose it’s because I loved you too much. I wore the passion out. The thought of anything of that sort horrifies me. I can’t look at you now without thinking of Emil and Griffiths. One can’t help those things, I suppose it’s just nerves.”
She seized his hand and covered it with kisses.
“Don’t,” he cried.
She sank back into the chair.
“I can’t go on like this. If you won’t love me, I’d rather go away.”
“Don’t be foolish, you haven’t anywhere to go. You can stay here as long as you like, but it must be on the definite understanding that we’re friends and nothing more.”
Then she dropped suddenly the vehemence of passion and gave a soft, insinuating laugh. She sidled up to Philip and put her arms round him. She made her voice low and wheedling.
“Don’t be such an old silly. I believe you’re nervous. You don’t know how nice I can be.”
She put her face against his and rubbed his cheek with hers. To Philip her smile was an abominable leer, and the suggestive glitter of her eyes filled him with horror. He drew back instinctively.
“I won’t,” he said.
But she would not let him go. She sought his mouth with her lips. He took her hands and tore them roughly apart and pushed her away.
“You disgust me,” he said.
She steadied herself with one hand on the chimney-piece. She looked at him for an instant, and two red spots suddenly appeared on her cheeks. She gave a shrill, angry laugh.
“I disgust you.”
She paused and drew in her breath sharply. Then she burst into a furious torrent of abuse. She shouted at the top of her voice. She called him every foul name she could think of. She used language so obscene that Philip was astounded; she was always so anxious to be refined, so shocked by coarseness, that it had never occurred to him that she knew the words she used now. She came up to him and thrust her face in his. It was distorted with passion, and in her tumultuous speech the spittle dribbled over her lips.
“I never cared for you, not once, I was making a fool of you always, you bored me, you bored me stiff, and I hated you, I would never have let you touch me only for the money, and it used to make me sick when I had to let you kiss me. We laughed at you, Griffiths and me, we laughed because you was such a mug. A mug! A mug!”