Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Part III Edith Wharton

Chapter XXVIII

Page 4 of 5

Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

There he stood--the man who was "going to Fontainebleau tomorrow"; who called it "taking the necessary steps!" Who could smile as he made the careless statement! A world seemed to divide them already: it was as if their parting were already over. All the words, cries, arguments beating loud wings in her dropped back into silence. The only thought left was: "How much longer does he mean to go on standing there?"

He may have read the question in her face, for turning back from an absorbed contemplation of the window curtains he said: "There's nothing else?"

"Nothing else?"

"I mean: you spoke of things to be settled--"

She flushed, suddenly remembering the pretext she had used to summon him.

"Oh," she faltered, "I didn't know ... I thought there might be .... But the lawyers, I suppose ...."

She saw the relief on his contracted face. "Exactly. I've always thought it was best to leave it to them. I assure you"-- again for a moment the smile strained his lips-- "I shall do nothing to interfere with a quick settlement."

She stood motionless, feeling herself turn to stone. He appeared already a long way off, like a figure vanishing down a remote perspective.

"Then--good-bye," she heard him say from its farther end.

"Oh,--good-bye," she faltered, as if she had not had the word ready, and was relieved to have him supply it.

He stopped again on the threshold, looked back at her, began to speak. "I've--" he said; then he repeated "Good-bye," as though to make sure he had not forgotten to say it; and the door closed on him.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

It was over; she had had her last chance and missed it. Now, whatever happened, the one thing she had lived and longed for would never be. He had come, and she had let him go again ....

How had it come about? Would she ever be able to explain it to herself? How was it that she, so fertile in strategy, so practiced in feminine arts, had stood there before him, helpless, inarticulate, like a school-girl a-choke with her first love-longing? If he was gone, and gone never to return, it was her own fault, and none but hers. What had she done to move him, detain him, make his heart beat and his head swim as hers were beating and swimming? She stood aghast at her own inadequacy, her stony inexpressiveness ....

And suddenly she lifted her hands to her throbbing forehead and cried out: "But this is love! This must be love!"

She had loved him before, she supposed; for what else was she to call the impulse that had drawn her to him, taught her how to overcome his scruples, and whirled him away with her on their mad adventure? Well, if that was love, this was something so much larger and deeper that the other feeling seemed the mere dancing of her blood in tune with his ....

But, no! Real love, great love, the love that poets sang, and privileged and tortured beings lived and died of, that love had its own superior expressiveness, and the sure command of its means. The petty arts of coquetry were no farther from it than the numbness of the untaught girl. Great love was wise, strong, powerful, like genius, like any other dominant form of human power. It knew itself, and what it wanted, and how to attain its ends.

Page 4 of 5 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004