King Midas: a Romance eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 312 pages of information about King Midas.

“Yes, Auntie,” said Helen again, still more weakly.

“Come here, my dear,” said Mrs. Roberts, drawing her gently over to the bed and sitting down beside her; “you are a little dazed, I fancy, and I do not blame you.  I should have been beside myself at your age if such a thing had happened to me; do you realize, child, what a fortune like Mr. Harrison’s is?”

“No,” said Helen, “it is very hard, Aunt Polly.  I’m afraid about it; I must have some time to think.”

“Think!” laughed the other.  “You queer child!  My dear, do you actually mean that you could think of refusing this chance of your lifetime?”

“I don’t know,” said Helen, trembling; “I don’t—­”

“Everybody’d think you were crazy, child!  I know I should, for one.”  And she added, coaxingly, “Let me tell you what Mr. Roberts said.”

“What, Auntie?”

“He sent you in this message; he’s a great person for doing generous things, when he takes it into his head.  He told me to tell you that if you’d accept Mr. Harrison’s offer he would give you the finest trousseau that he could buy.  Wasn’t that splendid of him?”

“Yes,” said Helen, “thank him for me;” and she shuddered.  “Don’t talk to me any more about it now, tho,” she pleaded.  “Please don’t, Aunt Polly.  I was so excited, and it was all like a dream, and I’m half dazed now; I can’t think about it, and I must think, somehow!  It’s too dreadful!”

“You shan’t think about it tonight, child,” laughed the other, “for I want you to sleep and be beautiful tomorrow.  See,” she added, beginning to unfasten Helen’s dress, “I’m going to be your little mother tonight, and put you to bed.”

And so, soothing the girl and kissing her burning forehead and trying to laugh away her fears, her delighted protectress undressed her, and did not leave her until she had seen her in bed and kissed her again.  “And promise me, child,” she said, “that you won’t worry yourself tonight.  Go to sleep, and you’ll have time to think tomorrow.”

Helen promised that she would; but she did not keep her promise.  She heard the great clock in the hallway strike many times, and when the darkest hours of the night had passed she was sitting up in bed and gazing about her at the gray shadows in the room, holding the covering tightly about her, because she was very cold; she was muttering nervously to herself, half deliriously:  “No, no, I will not do it!  They shall not make me do it!  I must have time to think.”

And when at last she fell into a restless slumber, that thought was still in her mind, and those words upon her lips:  “I will not do it; I must have time to think!”

[Music:  The opening passage of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.]

CHAPTER VI

  “And yet methinks I see it in thy face,
  What them shouldst be:  th’ occasion speaks thee; and
  My strong imagination sees a crown
  Dropping upon thy head.”

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Project Gutenberg
King Midas: a Romance from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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