“If we’re not going away,” she said, “I can lie down—and rest.”
“Alone? In the next room?”
He opened the door for her. “I’ll be as quiet as a mouse,” he said. “Have a good sleep. I’ll sit here and read.” She read in his eyes a plea for affection, for another kiss, as she left him, but she had not the strength to give it. She went into the adjoining room, and shut the door after her. Then she stood there silently regarding the door—regarding the key. ... If she locked it she was safe from him. He could not come in. ... She could lock him out.
Her hand went to the key, but came away without turning it. No. ... She had no right. She had made her bargain and must abide by it. Bonbright was her husband and she was his wife, and as such she must not turn locks upon him. ... Marriage gave him the right of free access.
Dressed as she was, in the suit that had been her wedding dress, she threw herself upon the bed and gave up her soul to torment. She had taken her all and paid it for a thing desirable in her eyes—and her all had bought her nothing. She had wrenched her love from the man to whom she had given it, and all her life must counterfeit love for a man whom she did not love—and in return she would receive—nothing. She had seen herself a Joan of Arc. That dream was blown away in a breath. ... But the bargain was made. That she did not receive what she had thought to receive was no fault of Bonbright’s—and she must endure what was to be endured. She must be honest with him—as honesty showed its face to her. To be honest with him meant to her to deceive him daily, hourly, to make her life a lie. He was cheated enough as matters stood—and he did not deserve to be cheated. He was good, gentle, a man. She appreciated him—but she did not love him. ... And appreciating him, aware of his strength and his goodness to her, she could not keep her eyes off the door. She lay there eying it with ever increasing apprehension—yet she did not, would not, could not, rise to turn the key. ...
In every formation of a fresh family group there must be readjustments of habit and of thought. Two people who fancy they know each other intimately discover that they are in reality utter strangers. They start a new acquaintanceship at the moment of marriage, and the wonder of it is that so many millions of them manage the thing with success. It is true that a man and woman who join their hands and their fortunes because of a deep-seated, genuine, calm affection have a greater chance of lasting happiness than those who unite because of the spur of sudden, flaring passion. There are those who contend that friendship and mutual confidence are a firmer foundation for marriage than the emotion that we call love. Thousands of men and women have married because prudence told them a