Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
7. Companionship H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

Section 8

Page 3 of 4

Table Of Contents: The Secret Places of the Heart

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"What sort of man was this Caston?"

Miss Grammont seemed to consider. She did not look at Sir Richmond; she kept her profile to him.

"He was," she said deliberately, "a very rotten sort of man."

She spoke like one resolved to be exact and judicial. "I believe I always knew he wasn't right. But he was very handsome. And ten years younger than Lake. And nobody else seemed to be all right, so I swallowed that. He was an artist, a painter. Perhaps you know his work." Sir Richmond shook his head. "He could make American business men look like characters out of the Three Musketeers, they said, and he was beginning to be popular. He made love to me. In exactly the way Lake didn't. If I shut my eyes to one or two things, it was delightful. I liked it. But my father would have stood a painter as my husband almost as cheerfully as he would a man of colour. I made a fool of myself, as people say, about Caston. Well--when the war came, he talked in a way that irritated me. He talked like an East Side Annunzio, about art and war. It made me furious to know it was all talk and that he didn't mean business. . . . I made him go."

She paused for a moment. "He hated to go."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

"Then I relented. Or I missed him and I wanted to be made love to. Or I really wanted to go on my own account. I forget. I forget my motives altogether now. That early war time was a queer time for everyone. A kind of wildness got into the blood. . . . I threw over Lake. All the time things had been going on in New York I had still been engaged to Lake. I went to France. I did good work. I did do good work. And also things were possible that would have seemed fantastic in America. You know something of the war-time atmosphere. There was death everywhere and people snatched at gratifications. Caston made 'To-morrow we die' his text. We contrived three days in Paris together--not very cleverly. All sorts of people know about it. . . . We went very far."

She stopped short. "Well?" said Sir Richmond.

"He did die. . . ."

Another long pause. "They told me Caston had been killed. But someone hinted--or I guessed--that there was more in it than an ordinary casualty.

"Nobody, I think, realizes that I know. This is the first time I have ever confessed that I do know. He was--shot. He was shot for cowardice."

"That might happen to any man," said Sir Richmond presently. "No man is a hero all round the twenty-four hours. Perhaps he was caught by circumstances, unprepared. He may have been taken by surprise."

"It was the most calculated, cold-blooded cowardice imaginable. He let three other men go on and get killed. . ."

"No. It is no good your inventing excuses for a man you know nothing about. It was vile, contemptible cowardice and meanness. It fitted in with a score of ugly little things I remembered. It explained them all. I know the evidence and the judgment against him were strictly just and true, because they were exactly in character. . . . And that, you see, was my man. That was the lover I had chosen. That was the man to whom I had given myself with both hands."

Page 3 of 4 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Secret Places of the Heart
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004