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

Chapter XXVII

Page 2 of 3

Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

A silence had fallen between them. He broke it by rising from his seat, and saying with a shrug: "You'll end by driving me to marry Joan Senechal."

Susy smiled. "Well, why not? She's lovely."

"Yes; but she'll bore me."

"Poor Streff! So should I--"

"Perhaps. But nothing like as soon--" He grinned sardonically. "There'd be more margin." He appeared to wait for her to speak. "And what else on earth are you going to do?" he concluded, as she still remained silent.

"Oh, Streff, I couldn't marry you for a reason like that!" she murmured at length.

"Then marry me, and find your reason afterward."

Her lips made a movement of denial, and still in silence she held out her hand for good-bye. He clasped it, and then turned away; but on the threshold he paused, his screwed-up eyes fixed on her wistfully.

The look moved her, and she added hurriedly: "The only reason I can find is one for not marrying you. It's because I can't yet feel unmarried enough."

"Unmarried enough? But I thought Nick was doing his best to make you feel that."

"Yes. But even when he has--sometimes I think even that won't make any difference."

He still scrutinized her hesitatingly, with the gravest eyes she had ever seen in his careless face.

"My dear, that's rather the way I feel about you," he said simply as he turned to go.

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

That evening after the children had gone to bed Susy sat up late in the cheerless sitting-room. She was not thinking of Strefford but of Nick. He was coming to Paris--perhaps he had already arrived. The idea that he might be in the same place with her at that very moment, and without her knowing it, was so strange and painful that she felt a violent revolt of all her strong and joy-loving youth. Why should she go on suffering so unbearably, so abjectly, so miserably? If only she could see him, hear his voice, even hear him say again such cruel and humiliating words as he had spoken on that dreadful day in Venice when that would be better than this blankness, this utter and final exclusion from his life! He had been cruel to her, unimaginably cruel: hard, arrogant, unjust; and had been so, perhaps, deliberately, because he already wanted to be free. But she was ready to face even that possibility, to humble herself still farther than he had humbled her--she was ready to do anything, if only she might see him once again.

She leaned her aching head on her hands and pondered. Do anything? But what could she do? Nothing that should hurt him, interfere with his liberty, be false to the spirit of their pact: on that she was more than ever resolved. She had made a bargain, and she meant to stick to it, not for any abstract reason, but simply because she happened to love him in that way. Yes--but to see him again, only once!

Suddenly she remembered what Strefford had said about Nelson Vanderlyn and his wife. "Why should two people who've just done each other the best turn they could behave like sworn enemies ever after?" If in offering Nick his freedom she had indeed done him such a service as that, perhaps he no longer hated her, would no longer be unwilling to see her .... At any rate, why should she not write to him on that assumption, write in a spirit of simple friendliness, suggesting that they should meet and "settle things"? The business-like word "settle" (how she hated it) would prove to him that she had no secret designs upon his liberty; and besides he was too unprejudiced, too modern, too free from what Strefford called humbug, not to understand and accept such a suggestion. After all, perhaps Strefford was right; it was something to have rid human relations of hypocrisy, even if, in the process, so many exquisite things seemed somehow to have been torn away with it ....

Page 2 of 3 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