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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 408 pages of information about The Odd Women.

He held out his arms to her.  Monica shook her head and looked away.

‘Say once more that you love me, darling,’ he pleaded.  ’I shall not rest for an hour until I am able to write and say, “Come to me."’

She permitted him to hold her once more in his soft embrace.

‘Kiss me, Monica!’

She put her lips to his cheek, and withdrew them, still shunning his look.

‘Oh, not that kind of kiss.  Like you kissed me before.’

‘I can’t,’ she replied, with choking voice, the tears again starting forth.

‘But what have I done that you should love me less, dearest?’

He kissed the falling drops, murmuring assurances, encouragements.

’You shan’t leave me until I have heard you say that your love is unchanged.  Whisper it to me, sweetest!’

‘When we meet again—­not now.’

‘You frighten me.  Monica, we are not saying good-bye for ever?’

‘If you send for me I will come.’

‘You promise faithfully?  You will come?’

‘If you send for me I will come.’

That was her last word.  He opened the door for her, and listened as she departed.

CHAPTER XXIII

IN AMBUSH

Hitherto, Widdowson had entertained no grave mistrust of his wife.  The principles she had avowed, directly traceable as it seemed to her friendship with the militant women in Chelsea, he disliked and feared; but her conduct he fully believed to be above reproach.  His jealously of Barfoot did not glance at Monica’s attitude towards the man; merely at the man himself, whom he credited with native scoundreldom.  Barfoot represented to his mind a type of licentious bachelor; why, he could not have made perfectly clear to his own understanding.  Possibly the ease of Everard’s bearing, the something aristocratic in his countenance and his speech, the polish of his manner, especially in formal converse with women, from the first grave offence to Widdowson’s essentially middle-class sensibilities.  If Monica were in danger at all, it was, he felt convinced, from that quarter.  The subject of his wife’s intimate dialogue with Barfoot at the Academy still remained a mystery to him.  He put faith in her rebellious declaration that every word might have been safely repeated in his hearing, but, be the matter what it might, the manner of Barfoot’s talk meant evil.  Of that conviction he could not get rid.

He had read somewhere that a persistently jealous husband may not improbably end by irritating an innocent wife into affording real ground for jealousy.  A man with small knowledge of the world is much impressed by dicta such as there; they get into the crannies of his mind, and thence direct the course of his thinking.  Widdowson, before his marriage, had never suspected the difficulty of understanding a woman; had he spoken his serious belief on that subject, it would have

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