Read Books Online, for Free
The White Leech
|Page 4 of 4||
"Had you failed to rouse me, what would you have done?" she asked suddenly without moving.
"I would have buried it."
"It! What?--You would have buried THIS?" she exclaimed, flashing round upon me in a white fury, her arms thrown out, and her eyes darting forks of cold lightning.
"Nay; that I saw not! That, weary weeks of watching and tending have brought back to you," I answered--for with such a woman I must be plain! "Had I seen the smallest sign of decay, I would at once have buried you."
"Dog of a fool!" she cried, "I was but in a trance--Samoil! what a fate!--Go and fetch the she-savage from whom you borrowed this hideous disguise."
"I made it for you. It is hideous, but I did my best."
She drew herself up to her tall height.
"How long have I been insensible?" she demanded. "A woman could not have made that dress in a day!"
"Not in twenty days," I rejoined, "hardly in thirty!"
"Ha! How long do you pretend I have lain unconscious?--Answer me at once."
"I cannot tell how long you had lain when I found you, but there was nothing left of you save skin and bone: that is more than three months ago.--Your hair was beautiful, nothing else! I have done for it what I could."
"My poor hair!" she said, and brought a great armful of it round from behind her; "--it will be more than a three-months' care to bring YOU to life again!--I suppose I must thank you, although I cannot say I am grateful!"
"There is no need, madam: I would have done the same for any woman--yes, or for any man either!"
"How is it my hair is not tangled?" she said, fondling it.
"It always drifted in the current."
"How?--What do you mean?"
"I could not have brought you to life but by bathing you in the hot river every morning."
She gave a shudder of disgust, and stood for a while with her gaze fixed on the hurrying water. Then she turned to me:
"We must understand each other!" she said. "--You have done me the two worst of wrongs--compelled me to live, and put me to shame: neither of them can I pardon!"
She raised her left hand, and flung it out as if repelling me. Something ice-cold struck me on the forehead. When I came to myself, I was on the ground, wet and shivering.
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004