“Yes, I love the old place, the cedars and yews shading the graves. It has repose—poetry.”
His mind recoiled on happier things. Catherine felt it, and was comforted.
“I often went to Farley as a child.”
“The memory suits you, dear. I can see a little, golden-headed woman sitting in the sunlight in one of those black old pews.”
“I was like our Gwen, but more noisy.”
“Gwen cannot do better than repeat her mother.”
The moon sailed high over Marley Down when husband and wife returned to the cottage. The old village woman whom Catherine had hired had lit the lamp in the small drawing-room, and the warm glow flooded through the casement upon the flowers and the dew-drenched grass. Catherine wandered to the piano, her husband lying in the chair before the open window. She played and sang to him, the old songs she had sung when they had been betrothed.
She rose at last, and, bending over him, put her arms about his neck, while his hands held hers.
“I am going to bed.”
He looked through the window at the black sweep of the heath and the stars above 佛山桑拿全套2014体验 it.
“I shall sit up awhile, dear, and do some work.”
He glanced up at her with a smile.
“I brought a ledger over with me. No time like the sweet and idle present. There are such things as bills, dear.”
Catherine brushed the commonplace aside with a woman’s adroitness.
“Well, an hour’s exile, and no more.”
“I promise that.”
“Good-night, till you come—”
She kissed him, glided away, and went up to her room, humming one of Schubert’s songs.
Murchison sat for a while before the open window after his wife had gone to bed. He could hear her moving to and fro in the room above him, the only sound in the silence of the night. He was at rest, and happy, her very nearness filling him with a sense of peace and strength. The tenderness of her love breathed in the air, and he still seemed to hear her radiant singing.
We mortals are often in greater peril 佛山夜生活哪里好玩 of a fall when we trust in the cheerful temerity of an imagined strength. To a man standing upon the edge of a precipice the lands beneath seem faint and insignificant, and yet but a depth of air lies between him and the plain. Our frailties may seem pitiful, nay, impossible to us when we listen to noble music, or watch the sunrise on the mountains. The man who is exalted in the spirit lives in a clearer atmosphere, and wonders at the fog that may have drifted round him yesterday. He may even
laugh at the alter ego framed of clay, and ask whether this soft-bodied, cringing thing could ever have answered to the name of “self.”
Some such feeling of optimism took possession of Murchison that night. The words of his wife’s songs were in his brain; he heard her moving in the room above, and felt the dearness of her presence in the place. Everywhere he beheld the work of her 南海佛山桑拿体验 hands—the curtains at the windows, the flowers in the bowls. Her photograph stood on the mantel-shelf, and he rose and looked at it, smiling at the eyes that smiled at him. Could he, the husband of such a woman, and the father of her children, be the mere creature of the juice of the grape? Was he no stronger than some sot at a street corner? He gazed at his own photograph that stood before the mirror, gazed at it critically, as though studying
a strange face. The eyes looked straight at him, the mouth was firm, the jaw crossed by a deep shadow that betrayed no degenerate sloping of the chin. Was this the face of a man who was the victim of a lust? He smiled at the memory of his weaker self as a man smiles at a rival whom he can magnanimously pity.
The pride of strength suggested the thought of proof. Old Porteus Carmagee had sent him this choice wine, and was he afraid of six bottles in a basket? Why not challenge this alter 佛山桑拿全套一条龙 ego, this mean and treacherous caricature of his manhood, and prove in the grapple that he was the master of his earthly self? There was a combative stimulus in the thought that appealed to a man who had been an athlete. It fired the element of action in him, made him knit his muscles and expand his chest.
Murchison looked at himself
steadily in the mirror, held up his hand, and saw not the slightest tremor. He crossed the hall, entered the dining-room, and dragged the hamper from under the window-seat with something of the spirit of a Greek hero dragging some classic monster from its lair. Coolly and without flurry he carried the thing into the drawing-room and set it down on the little gate-legged table. He cut the cord, raised the lid, and let the musty fragrance of the lawyer’s cellar float out into the room. The simile of Pandora’s box did not occur to him. He put the straw aside, and pulled out a cobwebbed bottle from its case. His knife served him to break up the cork; he sniffed the wine’s bouquet, and looked 佛山按摩论坛 round him for a glass.
He found one among Catherine’s curios, an old Venetian goblet of quaint shape. Half filling it, he tossed Porteus Carmagee’s letter on to the straw, and standing before his wife’s portrait, looked steadily into the smiling eyes.
“Kate, I drink to you. One glass to prove it, and the open bottle left untouched.”
Deliberately he raised the glass and drank, looking at his 佛山桑拿浴服务价格 wife’s face in its framing of silver on the mantel-shelf.
More than two hours had passed since she had left him, and Catherine was lying awake, watching the moonlight glimmering on the moor. Her heart was tranquil in her, her thoughts free from all unrest as she lay in the oak bed, happily lethargic, waiting for her husband’s step upon the stairs. The day had been very sweet to her, and there was no shadow across the moon. She lay thinking of her children, and her childhood, and of the near past, when she had first sung the songs that she had sung to the man that night.
The crash of broken glass and the sound of some heavy body falling startled Catherine from her land of dreams. She sat up, listening, like one roused from a first sleep. Murchison must have turned out the lamp and then blundered against some piece of furniture in the dark. If it were her treasured and much-sought china! She slipped out of bed, opened the door, and went out on to the landing.
“James, what is it?”
The narrow hall lay dark below her, and she won no answer from her husband.
“Are you hurt, dear?”
Still no reply; the door was shut.
“James, what has happened?”
She crept down the stairs, and stepped on the last step. A curious, “gaggling” laugh came from the room across the hall. At the sound she stiffened, one hand holding the bosom of her laced night-gear, the other gripping the oak rail. A sudden blind dread smote her till she seemed conscious of nothing save the dark.
“James, are you coming?”
Again she heard that mockery of a laugh, and a kind of senseless jabbering like the babbling of a drunken man. A rush of anguish caught her heart, the anguish of one who feels the horror of the stifling sea. She tottered, groped her way back into her room, and sank down on the bed in an agony of defeat. Was it for this that her love had spent itself in all the tender planning of this little place? How had it happened? Not with deceit! Even in her blindness she prayed to God that he had not wounded her with willing hand.
“Oh, God, not that, not that!”