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【英文原版】红礁画浆录(Beatrice)/(英)亨利·莱德·哈葛德 [复制链接]

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只看该作者 20楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XX. Back at Bryngelly R{B~Now3  
  Geoffrey and Mr. Granger reached Bolton Street about six o'clock. The drawing-room was still full of callers. Lady Honoria's young men mustered in great force in those days. They were very inoffensive young men and Geoffrey had no particular objection to them. Only he found it difficult to remember all their names. When Geoffrey entered the drawing-room there were no fewer than five of them, to say nothing of two stray ladies, all superbly dressed and sitting metaphorically at Honoria's very pretty feet. Otherwise their contributions to the general store of amusement did not amount to much, for her ladyship did most of the talking. %P,^}h7  
Geoffrey introduced Mr. Granger, whom Honoria could not at first remember. Nor did she receive the announcement that he was going to dine and stay the night with any particular enthusiasm. The young men melted away at Geoffrey's advent like mists before a rising sun. He greeted them civilly enough, but with him they had nothing in common. To tell the truth they were a little afraid of him. This man with his dark handsome face sealed with the stamp of intellect, his powerful- looking form (ill dressed, according to their standard) and his great and growing reputation, was a person with whom they had no sympathy, and who, they felt, had no sympathy with them. We talk as though there is one heaven and one hell for all of us, but here must be some mistake. An impassable gulf yawns between the different classes of mankind. What has such a man as Geoffrey to do with the feeble male and female butterflies of a London drawing-room? There is only one link between them: they live on the same planet. %/y`<lJz(  
When the fine young men and the two stray ladies had melted away, Geoffrey took Mr. Granger up to his room. Coming downstairs again he found Lady Honoria waiting for him in the study. "}@i+oS  
j U[ O  
"Is that individual really going to dine and sleep here?" she asked. rN)V[5R#M  
"Certainly, Honoria, and he has brought no dress clothes," he answered. #%DE;  
a^I\ /&aw'  
"Really, Geoffrey, it is too bad of you," said the lady with some pardonable irritation. "Why do you bring people to dinner in this promiscuous way? It will quite upset the table. Just fancy asking an old Welsh clergyman to dine, who has not the slightest pretensions to being a gentleman, when one has the Prime Minister and a Bishop coming --and a clergyman without dress clothes too. What has he come for?" :(P9mt  
iy.p n  
"He came to see me on business, and as to the people coming to dinner, if they don't like it they can grumble when they go home. By the way, Honoria, I am going down to Wales for a day or two to-morrow. I want a change." YK'<NE3 4  
"Indeed! Going to see the lovely Beatrice, I suppose. You had better be careful, Geoffrey. That girl will get you into a mess, and if she does there are plenty of people who are ready to make an example of you. You have enemies enough, I can tell you. I am not jealous, it is not in my line, but you are too intimate with that girl, and you will be sorry for it one day." pd$[8Rmj_  
"Nonsense," said Geoffrey angrily, but nevertheless he felt that Lady Honoria's words were words of truth. It struck him, moreover, that she must feel this strongly, or she would not have spoken in that tone. Honoria did not pose as a household philosopher. Still he would not draw back now. His heart was set on seeing Beatrice. "w _aM7x_  
"Am I to understand," went on his wife, "that you still object to my staying with the Garsingtons? I think it is a little hard if I do not make a fuss about your going to see your village paragon, that you should refuse to allow me to visit my own brother." J6aef ^>  
MC.) 2B7  
Geoffrey felt that he was being bargained with. It was degrading, but in the extremity of his folly he yielded. \[_t]'p  
"Go if you like," he said shortly, "but if you take Effie, mind she is properly looked after, that is all," and he abruptly left the room. fLD, 5SN  
Lady Honoria looked after him, slowly nodding her handsome head. "Ah," she said to herself, "I have found out how to manage you now. You have your weak point like other people, Master Geoffrey--and it spells Beatrice. Only you must not go too far. I am not jealous, but I am not going to have a scandal for fifty Beatrices. I will not allow you to lose your reputation and position. Just imagine a man like that pining for a village girl--she is nothing more! And they talk about his being so clever. Well, he always liked ladies' society; that is his failing, and now he has burnt his fingers. They all do sooner or later, especially these clever men. The women flatter them, that's it. Of course the girl is trying to get hold of him, and she might do worse, but so surely as my name is Honoria Bingham I will put a spoke in her wheel before she has done. Bah! and they laugh at the power of women when a man like Geoffrey, with all the world to lose, grows love-sick for a pretty face; it is a very pretty face by the way. I do believe that if I were out of the way he would marry her. But I am in the way, and mean to stay there. Well, it is time to dress for dinner. I only hope that old clown of a clergyman won't do something ridiculous. I shall have to apologise for him." g$-PR37(  
Dinner-time had come; it was a quarter past eight, and the room was filled with highly bred people all more or less distinguished. Mr. Granger had duly appeared, arrayed in his threadbare black coat, relieved, however, by a pair of Geoffrey's dress shoes. As might have been expected, the great folk did not seem surprised at his presence, or to take any particular notice of his attire, the fact being that such people never are surprised. A Zulu chief in full war dress would only excite a friendly interest in their breasts. On the contrary they recognised vaguely that the old gentleman was something out of the common run, and as such worth cultivating. Indeed the Prime Minister, hearing casually that he was a clergyman from Wales, asked to be introduced to him, and at once fell into conversation about tithes, a subject of which Mr. Granger was thoroughly master. <1!O1ab  
`y* }lg T  
Presently they went down to dinner, Mr. Granger escorting the wife of the Bishop, a fat and somewhat apoplectic lady, blessed with an excellent appetite. On his other side was the Prime Minister, and between the two he got on very well, especially after a few glasses of wine. Indeed, both the apoplectic wife of the Bishop and the head of Her Majesty's Government were subsequently heard to declare that Mr. Granger was a very entertaining person. To the former he related with much detail how his daughter had saved their host's life, and to the latter he discoursed upon the subject of tithes, favouring him with his ideas of what legislation was necessary to meet the question. Somewhat to his own surprise, he found that his views were received with attention and even with respect. In the main, too, they received the support of the Bishop, who likewise felt keenly on the subject of tithes. Never before had Mr. Granger had such a good dinner nor mingled with company so distinguished. He remembered both till his dying day. &Z|P2dI  
Next morning Geoffrey and Mr. Granger started before Lady Honoria was up. Into the details of their long journey to Wales (in a crowded third-class carriage) we need not enter. Geoffrey had plenty to think of, but his fears had vanished, as fears sometimes do when we draw near to the object of them, and had been replaced by a curious expectancy. He saw now, or thought he saw, that he had been making a mountain out of a molehill. Probably it meant nothing at all. There was no real danger. Beatrice liked him, no doubt; possibly she had even experienced a fit of tenderness towards him. Such things come and such things go. Time is a wonderful healer of moral distempers, and few young ladies endure the chains of an undesirable attachment for a period of seven whole months. It made him almost blush to think that this might be so, and that the gratuitous extension of his misfortune to Beatrice might be nothing more than the working of his own unconscious vanity--a vanity which, did she know of it, would move her to angry laughter. !*bMa8]*  
He remembered how once, when he was quite a young fellow, he had been somewhat smitten with a certain lady, who certainly, if he might judge from her words and acts, reciprocated the sentiment. And he remembered also, how when he met that lady some months afterwards she treated him with a cold indifference, indeed almost with an insolence, that quite bewildered him, making him wonder how the same person could show in such different lights, till at length, mortified and ashamed by his mistake, he had gone away in a rage and seen her face no more. Of course he had set it down to female infidelity; he had served her turn, she had made a fool of him, and that was all she wanted. Now he might enjoy his humiliation. It did not occur to him that it might be simple "cussedness," to borrow an energetic American term, or that she had not really changed, but was angry with him for some reason which she did not choose to show. It is difficult to weigh the motives of women in the scales of male experience, and many other men besides Geoffrey have been forced to give up the attempt and to console themselves with the reflection that the inexplicable is generally not worth understanding. #u"k~La  
Yes, probably it would be the same case over again. And yet, and yet-- was Beatrice of that class? Had she not too much of a man's straightforwardness of aim to permit her to play such tricks? In the bottom of his soul he thought that she had, but he would not admit it to himself. The fact of the matter was that, half unknowingly, he was trying to drug his conscience. He knew that in his longing to see her dear face once more he had undertaken a dangerous thing. He was about to walk with her over an abyss on a bridge which might bear them, or-- might break. So long as he walked there alone it would be well, but would it bear them both? Alas for the frailty of human nature, this was the truth; but he would not and did not acknowledge it. He was not going to make love to Beatrice, he was going to enjoy the pleasure of her society. In friendship there could be no harm. ?Jusl8Sm  
KLt %[$CTi  
It is not difficult thus to still the qualms of an uneasy mind, more especially when the thing in question at its worst is rather an offence against local custom than against natural law. In many countries of the world--in nearly all countries, indeed, at different epochs of their history--it would have been no wrong that Geoffrey and Beatrice should love each other, and human nature in strong temptation is very apt to override artificial barriers erected to suit the convenience or promote the prosperity of particular sections of mankind. But, as we have heard, even though all things may be lawful, yet all things are not expedient. To commit or even to condone an act because the principle that stamps it as wrong will admit of argument on its merits is mere sophistry, by the aid of which we might prove ourselves entitled to defy the majority of laws of all calibres. Laws vary to suit the generations, but each generation must obey its own, or confusion will ensue. A deed should be judged by its fruits; it may even be innocent in itself, yet if its fruits are evil the doer in a sense is guilty. Z)v)\l9d  
Thus in some countries to mention the name of your mother-in-law entails the most unpleasant consequences on that intimate relation. Nobody can say that to name the lady is a thing wicked in itself; yet the man who, knowing the penalties which will ensue, allows himself, even in a fit of passion against that relative, to violate the custom and mention her by name is doubtless an offender. Thus, too, the result of an entanglement between a woman and a man already married generally means unhappiness and hurt to all concerned, more especially to the women, whose prospects are perhaps irretrievably injured thereby. It is useless to point to the example of the patriarchs, some foreign royal families, and many respectable Turks; it is useless to plead that the love is deep and holy love, for which a man or woman might well live and die, or to show extenuating circumstances in the fact of loneliness, need of sympathy, and that the existing marriage is a hollow sham. The rule is clear. A man may do most things except cheat at cards or run away in action; a woman may break half-a-dozen hearts, or try to break them, and finally put herself up at auction and take no harm at all--but neither of them may in any event do this. m[//_TFf]  
8as$h*W h  
Not that Geoffrey, to do him justice, had any such intentions. Most men are incapable of plots of that nature. If they fall, it is when the voice of conscience is lost in the whirlwind of passion, and counsel is darkened by the tumultuous pleadings of the heart. Their sin is that they will, most of them, allow themselves to be put in positions favourable to the development of these disagreeable influences. It is not safe to light cigarettes in a powder factory. If Geoffrey had done what he ought to have done, he would never have gone to Bryngelly, and there would have been no story to tell, or no more than there usually is. ,8-_=*  
At length Mr. Granger and his guest reached Bryngelly; there was nobody to meet them, for nobody knew that they were coming, so they walked up to the Vicarage. It was strange to Geoffrey once more to pass by the little church through those well-remembered, wind-torn pines and see that low long house. It seemed wonderful that all should still be just as it was, that there should be no change at all, when he himself had seen so much. There was Beatrice's home; where was Beatrice? C"WZsF^3  
N{0 D<"  
He passed into the house like a man in a dream. In another moment he was in the long parlour where he had spent so many happy hours, and Elizabeth was greeting him. He shook hands with her, and as he did so, noticed vaguely that she too was utterly unchanged. Her straw-coloured hair was pushed back from the temples in the same way, the mouth wore the same hard smile, her light eyes shone with the same cold look; she even wore the same brown dress. But she appeared to be very pleased to see him, as indeed she was, for the game looked well for Elizabeth. Her father kissed her hurriedly, and bustled from the room to lock up his borrowed cash, leaving them together. 2!A/]:[F  
Somehow Geoffrey's conversational powers failed him. Where was Beatrice? she ought to be back from school. It was holiday time indeed. Could she be away? Y%m^V?k  
!LDuCz -  
He made an effort, and remarked absently that things seemed very unchanged at Bryngelly. xUp[)B6?:  
] D(laqS;"  
"You are looking for Beatrice," said Elizabeth, answering his thought and not his words. "She has gone out walking, but I think she will be back soon. Excuse me, but I must go and see about your room." !fFmQ\|)4S  
Geoffrey hung about a little, then he lit his pipe and strolled down to the beach, with a vague unexpressed idea of meeting Beatrice. He did not meet Beatrice, but he met old Edward, who knew him at once. m\|I.BUG  
>7. $=y8b  
"Lord, sir," he said, "it's queer to see you here again, specially when I thinks as how I saw you first, and you a dead 'un to all purposes, with your mouth open, and Miss Beatrice a-hanging on to your hair fit to pull your scalp off. You never was nearer old Davy than you was that night, sir, nor won't be. And now you've been spared to become a Parliament man, I hears, and much good may you do there--it will take all your time, sir--and I think, sir, that I should like to drink your health." KIO{6  
Geoffrey put his hand in his pocket and gave the old man a sovereign. He could afford to do so now. b?Dhhf  
"Does Miss Beatrice go out canoeing now?" he asked while Edward mumbled his astonished thanks. =\jp%A1$  
i|- 6  
"At times, sir--thanking you kindly; it ain't many suvrings as comes my way--though I hate the sight on it, I do. I'd like to stave a hole in the bottom of that there cranky concern; it ain't safe, and that's the fact. There'll be another accent out of it one of these fine days and no coming to next time. But, Lord bless you, it's her way of pleasuring herself. She's a queer un is Miss Beatrice, and she gets queerer and queerer, what with their being so tight screwed up at the Vicarage, no tithes and that, and one thing and another. Not but what I'm thinking, sir," he added in a portentous whisper, "as the squire has got summut to do with it. He's a courting of her, he is; he's as hard after her as a dog fish after a stray herring, and why she can't just say yes and marry him I'm sure I don't know." " [Z'n9C  
"Perhaps she doesn't like him," said Geoffrey coldly. )K"7=TvY  
"May be, sir, may be; maids all have their fancies, in whatssever walk o' life it has pleased God to stick 'em, but it's a wonderful pity, it is. He ain't no great shakes, he ain't, but he's a sound man--no girl can't want a sounder--lived quiet all his days you see, sir, and what's more he's got the money, and money's tight up at the Vicarage, sir. Gals must give up their fancies sometimes, sir. Lord! a brace of brats and she'd forget all about 'em. I'm seventy years old and I've seen their ways, sir, though in a humble calling. You should say a word to her, sir; she'd thank you kindly five years after. You'd do her a good turn, sir, you would, and not a bad un as the saying goes, and give it the lie--no, beg your pardon, that is the other way round --she's bound to do you the bad turn having saved your life, though I don't see how she could do that unless, begging your pardon, she made you fall in love with her, being married, which though strange wouldn't be wunnerful seeing what she is and seeing how I has been in love with her myself since she was seven, old missus and all, who died eight years gone and well rid of the rheumatics." X;hV+| Bo  
WB: NV=&^  
Beatrice was one of the few subjects that could unlock old Edward's breast, and Geoffrey retired before his confusing but suggestive eloquence. Hurriedly bidding the old man good-night he returned to the house, and leaning on the gate watched the twilight dying on the bosom of the west. "JH / ODm  
Suddenly, a bunch of wild roses in her girdle, Beatrice emerged from the gathering gloom and stood before him face to face. y'a(>s(  

只看该作者 21楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXI. The Third Appeal ]:r(U5 #  
  Face to face they stood, while at the vision of her sweetness his heart grew still. Face to face, and the faint light fell upon her tender loveliness and died in her deep eyes, and the faint breeze fragrant with the breath of pines gently stirred her hair. Oh, it was worth living to see her thus! qJ$S3B  
"I beg your pardon," she said in a puzzled tone, stepping forward to pass the gate. 7RD` *s  
"Beatrice!" 2>k)=hl:  
KzX ,n_`an  
She gave a little cry, and clutched the railing, else she would have fallen. One moment she stayed so, looking up towards his face that was hid in the deepening shadow--looking with wild eyes of hope and fear and love. i$[,-4 v  
"Is it you," she said at length, "or another dream?" M]1;  
"It is I, Beatrice!" he answered, amazed. 7f r>ZY^  
She recovered herself with an effort. t"tNtLI  
"Then why did you frighten me so?" she asked. "It was unkind--oh, I did not mean to say anything cross. What did I say? I forget. I am so glad that you have come!" and she put her hand to her forehead and looked at him again as one might gaze at a ghost from the grave. !/=9VD{U!  
}1^ tK(Am  
"Did you not expect me?" Geoffrey asked. 9,a,A6xry  
"Expect you? no. No more than I expected----" and she stopped suddenly. U  {!{5l:  
$0t %}DE  
"It is very odd," he said; "I thought you knew that your father was going to ask me down. I returned from London with him." o[ 6hUX0tN  
zYep V  
"From London," she murmured. "I did not know; Elizabeth did not tell me anything about it. I suppose that she forgot." mX<D]Z< k  
"Here I am at any rate, and how are you?" A7ck-9dT/L  
"Oh, well now, quite well. There, I am all right again. It is very wrong to frighten people in that way, Mr. Bingham," she added in her usual voice. "Let me pass through the gate and I will shake hands with you--if," she added, in a tone of gentle mockery, "one may shake hands with so great a man. But I told you how it would be, did I not, just before we were drowned together, you know? How is Effie?" ;,@3bu>r  
"Effie flourishes," he answered. "Do you know, you do not look very grand. Your father told me that you had a cold in the winter," and Geoffrey shivered as he thought of the cause. ]NG`MZ  
"Oh, thank you, I have nothing to complain of. I am strong and well. How long do you stay here?" (RW02%`jjy  
"Not long. Perhaps till Tuesday morning, perhaps till Monday." uu5L9.i9  
\OlB (%E7  
Beatrice sighed. Happiness is short. She had not brought him here, she would not have lifted a finger to bring him here, but since he had come she wished that he was going to stay longer. xhw0YDGzf  
"It is supper time," she said; "let us go in." f ( ug3(j  
So they went in and ate their supper. It was a happy meal. Mr. Granger was in almost boisterous spirits. It is wonderful what a difference the possession of that two hundred pounds made in his demeanour; he seemed another man. It was true that a hundred of it must go in paying debts, but a hundred would be left, which meant at least a year's respite for him. Elizabeth, too, relaxed her habitual grimness; the two hundred pounds had its influence on her also, and there were other genial influences at work in her dark secret heart. Beatrice knew nothing of the money and sat somewhat silent, but she too was happy with the wild unreal happiness that sometimes visits us in dreams. ."\&;:ZNv  
As for Geoffrey, if Lady Honoria could have seen him she would have stared in astonishment. Of late he had been a very silent man, many people indeed had found him a dull companion. But under the influence of Beatrice's presence he talked and talked brilliantly. Perhaps he was unconsciously striving to show at his very best before her, as a man naturally does in the presence of a woman whom he loves. So brilliantly did he talk that at last they all sat still and listened to him, and they might have been worse employed. *&B*/HAN  
6I72;e ^!  
At length supper was done, and Elizabeth retired to her room. Presently, too, Mr. Granger was called out to christen a sick baby and went grumbling, and they were left alone. They sat in the window-place and looked out at the quiet night. <6)Ogv",  
"Tell me about yourself," said Beatrice. /B"FGa04p(  
So he told her. He narrated all the steps by which he had reached his present position, and showed her how from it he might rise to the topmost heights of all. She did not look at him, and did not answer him, but once when he paused, thinking that he had talked enough about himself, she said, "Go on; tell me some more." /_mU%fl  
At last he had told her all. Jq_AR!} %  
"Yes," she said, "you have the power and the opportunity, and you will one day be among the foremost men of your generation." 7A^L$TY  
7=a e^GKo  
"I doubt it," he said with a sigh. "I am not ambitious. I only work for the sake of work, not for what it will bring. One day I daresay that I shall weary of it all and leave it. But while I do work, I like to be among the first in my degree." /sSM<r]5j  
"Oh, no," she answered, "you must not give it up; you must go on and on. Promise me," she continued, looking at him for the first time-- "promise me that while you have health and strength you will persevere till you stand alone and quite pre-eminent. Then you can give it up." i?,\>LTG  
"Why should I promise you this, Beatrice?" `2'*E\   
"Because I ask it of you. Once I saved your life, Mr. Bingham, and it gives me some little right to direct its course. I wish that the man whom I saved to the world should be among the first men in the world, not in wealth, which is an accident, but in intellect and force. Promise me this and I shall be happy." j*jO809%^  
"I promise you," he said, "I promise that I will try to rise because you ask it, not because the prospect attracts me; but as he spoke his heart was wrung. It was bitter to hear her speak thus of a future in which she would have no share, which, as her words implied, would be a thing utterly apart from her, as much apart as though she were dead. w8*+l0  
!zwn Fdp  
"Yes," he said again, "you gave me my life, and it makes me very unhappy to think that I can give you nothing in return. Oh, Beatrice, I will tell you what I have never told to any one. I am lonely and wretched. With the exception of yourself, I do not think that there is anybody who really cares for--I mean who really sympathises with me in the world. I daresay that it is my own fault and it sounds a humiliating thing to say, and, in a fashion, a selfish thing. I never should have said it to any living soul but you. What is the use of being great when there is nobody to work for? Things might have been different, but the world is a hard place. If you--if you----" 2PE|4zG  
At this moment his hand touched hers; it was accidental, but in the tenderness of his heart he yielded to the temptation and took it. Then there was a moment's pause, and very gently she drew her hand away and thrust it in her bosom. .;rE4B  
"You have your wife to share your fortune," she said; "you have Effie to inherit it, and you can leave your name to your country." SF&2a(~s  
& "&s,  
Then came a heavy pause. +`HMl;0m  
bY~K)j v3&  
"And you," he said, breaking it, "what future is there for you?" 5H._Q  
V xN!Ki=  
She laughed softly. "Women have no future and they ask none. At least I do not now, though once I did. It is enough for them if they can ever so little help the lives of others. That is their happiness, and their reward is--rest." @M*5q# s  
bu r0?q  
Just then Mr. Granger came back from his christening, and Beatrice rose and went to bed. fC$(l@O?  
"Looks a little pale, doesn't she, Mr. Bingham?" said her father. "I think she must be troubled in her mind. The fact is--well, there is no reason why I should not tell you; she thinks so much of you, and you might say a word to brighten her up--well, it's about Mr. Davies. I fancy, you know, that she likes him and is vexed because he does not come forward. Well, you see--of course I may be mistaken, but I have sometimes thought that he may. I have seen him look as if he was thinking of it, though of course it is more than Beatrice has got any right to expect. She's only got herself and her good looks to give him, and he's a rich man. Think of it, Mr. Bingham," and the old gentleman turned up his eyes piously, "just think what a thing it would be for her, and indeed for all of us, if it should please God to send a chance like that in her way; she would be rich for life, and such a position! But it is possible; one never knows; he might take a fancy to her. At any rate, Mr. Bingham, I think you could cheer her up a little; there is no need for her to give up hope yet." #M@Ki1  
Geoffrey burst into a short grim laugh. The idea of Beatrice languishing for Owen Davies, indeed the irony of the whole position, was too much for his sense of humour. r#(*x 2~,  
"Yes," he said, "I daresay that it might be a good match for her, but I do not know how she would get on with Mr. Davies." nOK1Wc%/'  
"Get on! why, well enough, of course. Women are soft, and can squeeze into most holes, especially if they are well lined. Besides, he may be a bit heavy, but I think she is pining for him, and it's a pity that she should waste her life like that. What, are you going to bed? Well, good-night--good-night." _p\O!y  
Geoffrey did go to bed, but not to sleep. For a long while he lay awake, thinking. He thought of the last night which he had spent in this little room, of its strange experiences, of all that had happened since, and of the meeting of to-day. Could he, after that meeting, any longer doubt what were the feelings with which Beatrice regarded him? It was difficult to so, and yet there was still room for error. Then he thought of what old Edward had said to him, and of what Mr. Granger had said with reference to Beatrice and Owen Davies. The views of both were crudely and even vulgarly expressed, but they coincided, and, what was more, there was truth in them, and he knew it. The idea of Beatrice marrying Mr. Davies, to put it mildly, was repulsive to him; but had he any claim to stand between her and so desirable a settlement in life? Clearly, he had not, his conscience told him so. |=AaGJx  
Could it be right, moreover, that this kind of tie which existed between them should be knitted more closely? What would it mean? Trouble, and nothing but trouble, more especially to Beatrice, who would fret her days away to no end. He had done wrong in coming here at all, he had done wrong in taking her hand. He would make the only reparation in his power (as though in such a case as that of Beatrice reparation were now possible)! He would efface himself from her life and see her no more. Then she might learn to forget him, or, at the worst, to remember him with but a vague regret. Yes, cost what it might, he would force himself to do it before any actual mischief ensued. The only question was, should he not go further? Should he not tell her that she would do well to marry Mr. Davies? \8=)X})  
Hs'~) T  
Pondering over this most painful question, at last he went to sleep. ^1.*NG8  
When men in Geoffrey's unhappy position turn penitent and see the error of their ways, the prudent resolves that ensue are apt to overshoot the mark and to partake of an aggressive nature. Not satisfied with leaving things alone, they must needs hasten to proclaim their new-found virtue to the partner of their fault, and advertise their infallible specific (to be taken by the partner) for restoring the status quo ante. Sometimes as a consequence of this pious zeal they find themselves misunderstood, or even succeed in precipitating the catastrophe which they laudably desire to prevent. s\;/U|P_  
The morrow was Whit-Sunday, and a day that Geoffrey had occasion to remember for the rest of his life. They all met at breakfast and shortly afterwards went to church, the service being at half-past ten. By way of putting into effect the good resolutions with which he was so busy paving an inferno of his own, Geoffrey did not sit by Beatrice, but took a seat at the end of the little church, close to the door, and tried to console himself by looking at her. )8C`EPe  
Q &W>h/  
It was a curious sullen-natured day, and although there was not very much sun the air was as hot as though they were in midsummer. Had they been in a volcanic region, Geoffrey would have thought that such weather preceded a shock of earthquake. As it was he knew that the English climate was simply indulging itself at the expense of the population. But as up to the present, the season had been cold, this knowledge did not console him. Indeed he felt so choked in the stuffy little church that just before the sermon (which he happened to be aware was not written by Beatrice) he took an opportunity to slip out unobserved. Not knowing where to go, he strolled down to the beach, on which there was nobody to be seen, for, as has been observed, Bryngelly slept on Sundays. Presently, however, a man approached walking rapidly, and to all appearance aimlessly, in whom he recognised Owen Davies. He was talking to himself while he walked, and swinging his arms. Geoffrey stepped aside to let him pass, and as he did so was surprised and even shocked to see the change in the man. His plump healthy-looking face had grown thin, and wore a half sullen, half pitiful expression; there were dark circles round his blue eyes, once so placid, and his hair would have been the better for cutting. Geoffrey wondered if he had had an illness. At that moment Owen chanced to look round and saw him. 0V-jOc  
"How do you do, Mr. Bingham?" he said. "I heard that you were here. They told me at the station last night. You see this is a small place and one likes to know who comes and goes," he added as though in excuse. 0Z((cI\J  
He walked on and Geoffrey walked with him. xSHeP`P^X  
"You do not look well, Mr. Davies," he said. "Have you been laid up?" ]`y4n=L.  
"No, no," he answered, "I am quite right; it is only my mind that is ill." A37Z;/H~k  
"Indeed," said Geoffrey, thinking that he certainly did look strange. "Perhaps you live too much alone and it depresses you." cfBq/2I  
x }\x3U  
"Yes, I live alone, because I can't help myself. What is a man to do, Mr. Bingham, when the woman he loves will not marry him, won't look at him, treats him like dirt?" /0Jf/-}ovn  
"Marry somebody else," suggested Geoffrey. a'`?kBK7`U  
gpf0 -g-X  
"Oh, it is easy for you to say that--you have never loved anybody, and you don't understand. I cannot marry anybody else, I want her only." M1xsGa9h&  
"Her? Whom?" {zcG%b WJ  
k H65k (  
"Who! why, Beatrice--whom else could a man want to marry, if once he had seen her. But she will not have me; she hates me." LL:N/1ysG  
"Really," said Geoffrey. /T/7O  
"Yes, really, and do you know why? Shall I tell you why? I will tell you," and he grasped him by the arm and whispered hoarsely in his ear: "Because she loves you, Mr. Bingham." 'uBW1,  
"I tell you what it is, Mr. Davies," said Geoffrey shaking his arm free, "I am not going to stand this kind of thing. You must be off your head." h!?7I=p~#  
kRo dC(f @  
"Don't be angry with me," he answered. "It is true. I have watched her and I know that it is true. Why does she write to you every week, why does she always start and listen when anybody mentions your name? Oh, Mr. Bingham," Owen went on piteously, "be merciful--you have your wife and lots of women to make love to if you wish--leave me Beatrice. If you don't I think that I shall go crazed. I have always loved her, ever since she was a child, and now my love travels faster and grows stronger every day, and carries me away with it like a rock rolling down a hill. You can only bring Beatrice to shame, but I can give her everything, as much money as she wants, all that she wants, and I will make her a good husband; I will never leave her side." 7KIOI,qb6  
"I have no doubt that would be delightful for her," answered Geoffrey; "but does it not strike you that all this is just a little undignified? These remarks, interesting as they are, should be made to Miss Granger, not to me, Mr. Davies." 1G/bqIMg63  
"I know," he said, "but I don't care; it is my only chance, and what do I mind about being undignified? Oh, Mr. Bingham, I have never loved any other woman, I have been lonely all my days. Do not stand in my path now. If you only knew what I have suffered, how I have prayed God night after night to give me Beatrice, you would help me. Say that you will help me! You are one of those men who can do anything; she will listen to you. If you tell her to marry me she will do so, and I shall bless you my whole life." 1K^blOLXe  
EyI 9$@4  
Geoffrey looked upon this abject suppliant with the most unmitigated scorn. There is always something contemptible in the sight of one man pleading to another for assistance in his love affairs--that is a business which he should do for himself. How much greater, then, is the humiliation involved when the amorous person asks the aid of one whom he believes to be his rival--his successful rival--in the lady's affection? _I<eJ\  
"Do you know, Mr. Davies," Geoffrey said, "I think that I have had enough of this. I am not in a position to force Miss Granger to accept advances which appear to be unwelcome according to your account. But if I get an opportunity I will do this: I will tell her what you say. You really must manage the rest for yourself. Good morning to you, Mr. Davies." yeE_1C .  
He turned sharply and went while Owen watched him go. oUltr  
.JQR5R |Q  
"I don't believe him," he groaned to himself. "He will try to make her his lover. Oh, God help me--I cannot bear to think of it. But if he does, and I find him out, let him be careful. I will ruin him, yes, I will ruin him! I have the money and I can do it. Ah, he thinks me a fool, they all think me a fool, but I haven't been quiet all these years for nothing. I can make a noise if necessary. And if he is a villain, God will help me to destroy him. I have prayed to God, and God will help me." if^\Gs$  
Then he went back to the Castle. Owen Davies was a type of the class of religious men who believe that they can enlist the Almighty on the side of their desires, provided only that those desires receive the sanction of human law or custom. lC^q}Bh:  
YQe @C  
Thus within twenty-four hours Geoffrey received no less than three appeals to help the woman whom he loved to the arms of a distasteful husband. No wonder then that he grew almost superstitious about the matter. $o]suF;3  

只看该作者 22楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXII. A Night of Storm Ut\:jV=f  
. KLEx]f.  
  That afternoon the whole Vicarage party walked up to the farm to inspect another litter of young pigs. It struck Geoffrey, remembering former editions, that the reproductive powers of Mr. Granger's old sow were something little short of marvellous, and he dreamily worked out a calculation of how long it would take her and her progeny to produce a pig to every square yard of the area of plucky little Wales. It seemed that the thing could be done in six years, which was absurd, so he gave up calculating. xSD*e 0  
He had no words alone with Beatrice that afternoon. Indeed, a certain coldness seemed to have sprung up between them. With the almost supernatural quickness of a loving woman's intuition, she had divined that something was passing in his mind, inimical to her most vital interests, so she shunned his company, and received his conventional advances with a politeness which was as cold as it was crushing. This did not please Geoffrey; it is one thing (in her own interests, of course) to make up your mind heroically to abandon a lady whom you do not wish to compromise, and quite another to be snubbed by that lady before the moment of final separation. Though he never put the idea into words or even defined it in his mind--for Geoffrey was far too anxious and unhappy to be flippant, at any rate in thought--he would at heart have wished her to remain the same, indeed to wax ever tenderer, till the fatal time of parting arrived, and even to show appreciation of his virtuous conduct. Awfd0L;9  
But to the utter destruction of most such hands as Geoffrey held, loving women never will play according to the book. Their conduct imperils everything, for it is obvious that it takes two to bring an affair of this nature to a dignified conclusion, even when the stakes are highest, and the matter is one of life and death. Beatrice after all was very much of a woman, and she did not behave much better than any other woman would have done. She was angry and suspicious, and she showed it, with the result that Geoffrey grew angry also. It was cruel of her, he thought, considering all things. He forgot that she could know nothing of what was in his mind, however much she might guess; also as yet he did not know the boundless depth and might of her passion for him, and all that it meant to her. Had he realised this he would have acted very differently. FDiDHOR  
They came home and took tea, then Mr. Granger and Elizabeth made ready to go to evening service. To Geoffrey's dismay Beatrice did the same. He had looked forward to a quiet walk with her--really this was not to be borne. Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, she was ready the first, and he got a word with her. %z @T /  
"I did not know that you were going to church," he said; "I thought that we might have had a walk together. Very likely I shall have to go away early to-morrow morning." %PU {h  
"Indeed," answered Beatrice coldly. "But of course you have your work to attend to. I told Elizabeth that I was coming to church, and I must go; it is too sultry to walk; there will be a storm soon." SVo`p;2r  
W^+b gg<.  
At this moment Elizabeth came in. "?9fL#8f*!  
+8Px` v1L  
"Well, Beatrice," she said, "are you coming to church? Father has gone on." W9Lg}[>:)  
F s\P/YX  
Beatrice pretended not to hear, and reflected a moment. He would go away and she would see him no more. Could she let slip this last hour? Oh, she could not do it! _<*GU@  
M 20Bc,VI  
In that moment of reflection her fate was sealed. d0(Cn}m"c  
"No," she answered slowly, "I don't think that I am coming; it is too sultry to go to church. I daresay that Mr. Bingham will accompany you." 9QQyl\  
Geoffrey hastily disclaimed any such intention, and Elizabeth started alone. "Ah!" she said to herself, "I thought that you would not come, my dear." G;l_|8<t#\  
"Well," said Geoffrey, when she had well gone, "shall we go out?" }|0^EWL  
I:=S 0&%)  
"I think it is pleasanter here," answered Beatrice. (j%~u&+-  
"Oh, Beatrice, don't be so unkind," he said feebly. ?:pP8/y  
"As you like," she replied. "There is a fine sunset--but I think that we shall have a storm." d`P7}*; `  
c:-!'l$ !  
They went out, and turned up the lonely beach. The place was utterly deserted, and they walked a little way apart, almost without speaking. The sunset was magnificent; great flakes of golden cloud were driven continually from a home of splendour in the west towards the cold lined horizon of the land. The sea was still quiet, but it moaned like a thing in pain. The storm was gathering fast. # m[|2R  
"What a lovely sunset," said Geoffrey at length. l_j4DQBRV  
"It is a fatal sort of loveliness," she answered; "it will be a bad night, and a wet morrow. The wind is rising; shall we turn?" m24v@?*  
"No, Beatrice, never mind the wind. I want to speak to you, if you will allow me to do so." [}@n*D$  
"Yes," said Beatrice, "what about, Mr. Bingham." (50[,:#  
cf[u%{ 6Y  
To make good resolutions in a matter of this sort is comparatively easy, but the carrying of them out presents some difficulties. Geoffrey, conscience-stricken into priggishness, wished to tell her that she would do well to marry Owen Davies, and found the matter hard. Meanwhile Beatrice preserved silence. `w=H'"Zv  
"The fact is," he said at length, "I most sincerely hope you will forgive me, but I have been thinking a great deal about you and your future welfare." f:&OOD o  
3vU (4}@  
"That is very kind of you," said Beatrice, with an ominous humility. <lR8MqjM_  
This was disconcerting, but Geoffrey was determined, and he went on in a somewhat flippant tone born of the most intense nervousness and hatred of his task. Never had he loved her so well as now in this moment when he was about to counsel her to marry another man. And yet he persevered in his folly. For, as so often happens, the shrewd insight and knowledge of the world which distinguished Geoffrey as a lawyer, when dealing with the affairs of others, quite deserted him in this crisis of his own life and that of the woman who worshipped him. \>+gZc]an  
"Since I have been here," he said, "I have had made to me no less than three appeals on your behalf and by separate people--by your father, who fancies that you are pining for Owen Davies; by Owen Davies, who is certainly pining for you; and by old Edward, intervening as a kind of domestic amicus curi?/i>." 8HDYA$L  
X~+AaI :~K  
"Indeed," said Beatrice, in a voice of ice. [(d))(M$|  
"All these three urged the same thing--the desirability of your marrying Owen Davies." SRfnT?u6  
tn@MOOP l  
Beatrice's face grew quite pale, her lips twitched and her grey eyes flashed angrily. T==(Pw7R7  
"Really," she said, "and have you any advice to give on the subject, Mr. Bingham?" Zx(VwB2   
"Yes, Beatrice, I have. I have thought it over, and I think that-- forgive me again--that if you can bring yourself to it, perhaps you had better marry him. He is not such a bad sort of man, and he is well off." !R@v\Eu  
They had been walking rapidly, and now they were reaching the spot known as the "Amphitheatre," that same spot where Owen Davies had proposed to Beatrice some seven months before. 6|10OTVu`  
c^8csQ fG  
Beatrice passed round the projecting edge of rock, and walked some way towards the flat slab of stone in the centre before she answered. While she did so a great and bitter anger filled her heart. She saw, or thought she saw, it all. Geoffrey wished to be rid of her. He had discerned an element of danger in their intimacy, and was anxious to make that intimacy impossible by pushing her into a hateful marriage. Suddenly she turned and faced him--turned like a thing at bay. The last red rays of the sunset struck upon her lovely face made more lovely still by its stamp of haughty anger: they lay upon her heaving breast. Full in the eyes she looked him with those wide angry eyes of hers--never before had he seen her so imperial a mien. Her dignity and the power of her presence literally awed him, for at times Beatrice's beauty was of that royal stamp which when it hides a heart, is a compelling force, conquering and born to conquer. *s (L!+  
"Does it not strike you, Mr. Bingham," she said quietly, "that you are taking a very great liberty? Does it not strike you that no man who is not a relation has any right to speak to a woman as you have spoken to me?--that, in short, you have been guilty of what in most people would be an impertinence? What right have you to dictate to me as to whom I should or should not marry? Surely of all things in the world that is my own affair." \Rff3$  
Geoffrey coloured to the eyes. As would have been the case with most men of his class, he felt her accusation of having taken a liberty, of having presumed upon an intimacy, more keenly than any which she could have brought against him. ev{;}2~V  
"Forgive me," he said humbly. "I can only assure you that I had no such intention. I only spoke--ill-judgedly, I fear--because--because I felt driven to it." 8/<+p? 3p>  
Beatrice took no notice of his words, but went on in the same cold voice. c8HETs1  
"What right have you to speak of my affairs with Mr. Davies, with an old boatman, or even with my father? Had I wished you to do so I should have asked you. By what authority do you constitute yourself an intermediary for the purpose of bringing about a marriage which you are so good as to consider would be to my pecuniary interest? Do you not know that such a matter is one which the woman concerned, the woman whose happiness and self-respect are at stake, alone can judge of? I have nothing more to say except this. I said just now that you had been guilty of what would in most people be an impertinence. Well, I will add something. In this case, Mr. Bingham, there are circumstances which make it--a cruel insult!" 7gT^ZL  
6l-V% 3-  
She stopped speaking, then suddenly, without the slightest warning, burst into passionate weeping. As she did so, the first rush of the storm passed over them, winnowing the air as with a thousand eagles' wings, and was lost on the moaning depths beyond. $\ 0d9^)&  
The light went out of the sky. Now Geoffrey could only see the faint outlines of her weeping face. One moment he hesitated and one only; then Nature prevailed against him, for the next she was in his arms. + 9vd(c  
Beatrice scarcely resisted him. Her energies seemed to fail her, or perhaps she had spent them in her bitter words. Her head fell upon his shoulder, and there she sobbed her fill. Presently she lifted it and their lips met in a first long kiss. It was finished; this was the end of it--and thus did Geoffrey prosper Owen Davies's suit. \M>+6m@w  
4cL NPl<  
"Oh, you are cruel, cruel!" he whispered in her ear. "You must have known I loved you, Beatrice, that I spoke against myself because I thought it to be my duty. You must have known that, to my sin and sorrow, I have always loved you, that you have never been an hour from my mind, that I have longed to see your face like a sick man for the light. Tell me, did you not know it, Beatrice?" r4 +w?=`  
"How should I know?" she answered very softly; "I could only guess, and if indeed you love me how could you wish me to marry another man? I thought that you had learned my weakness and took this way to reproach me. Oh, Geoffrey, what have we done? What is there between you and me--except our love?" wY95|QS  
"It would have been better if we had been drowned together at the first," he said heavily. >}DjHLTW\  
"No, no," she answered, "for then we never should have loved one another. Better first to love, and then to die!" f.@Xjf  
"Do not speak so," he said; "let us sit here and be happy for a little while to-night, and leave trouble till to-morrow." ^u)rB<#BR  
And, where on a bygone day Beatrice had tarried with another wooer, side by side they sat upon the great stone and talked such talk as lovers use. p/olCmHD)  
e@]-D FG  
Above them moaned the rising gale, though sheltered as they were by cliffs its breath scarcely stirred their hair. In front of them the long waves boomed upon the beach, while far out to sea the crescent moon, draped in angry light, seemed to ride the waters like a boat. ) ]6h y9<  
And were they alone with their great bliss, or did they only dream? Nay, they were alone with love and lovers' joys, and all the truth was told, and all their doubts were done. Now there was an end of hopes and fears; now reason fell and Love usurped his throne, and at that royal coming Heaven threw wide her gates. Oh, Sweetest and most dear! Oh, Dearest and most sweet! Oh, to have lived to find this happy hour --oh, in this hour to die! 6&Juv  
See heaviness is behind us, see now we are one. Blow, you winds, blow out your stormy heart; we know the secret of your strength, you rush to your desire. Fall, deep waters of the sea, fall in thunder at the feet of earth; we hear the music of your pleading. STfyCtS  
Earth, and Seas, and Winds, sing your great chant of love! Heaven and Space and Time, echo back the melody! For Life has called to us the answer of his riddle! Heart to heart we sit, and lips to lips, and we are more wise than Solomon, and richer than barbarian kings, for Happiness is ours. 83;IyvbL  
To this end were we born, Dearest and most sweet, and from all time predestinate! To this end, Sweetest and most dear, do we live and die, in death to find completer unity. For here is that secret of the world which wise men search and cannot find, and here too is the gate of Heaven. F6h/0i  
Look into my eyes, and let me gaze on yours, and listen how these things shall be. The world is but a mockery, and a shadow is our flesh, for where once they were there shall be naught. Only Love is real; Love shall endure till all the suns are dead, and yet be young. 9^[5!SMzCj  
W yJfF=<  
Kiss me, thou Conqueror, for Destiny is overcome, Sorrow is gone by; and the flame that we have hallowed upon this earthly altar shall still burn brightly, and yet more bright, when yonder stars have lost their fire. &: 8&;vk  
But alas! words cannot give a fitting form to such a song as this. Let music try! But music also folds her wings. For in so supreme an hour IP3-lru  
"A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast," L'c4 i[~s  
and through that opened door come sights and sounds such as cannot be written. MiAXbo#\  
They tell us it is madness, that this unearthly glory is but the frenzy of a passion gross in its very essence. Let those think it who will, but to dreamers let them leave their dreams. Why then, at such a time, do visions come to children of the world like Beatrice and Geoffrey? Why do their doubts vanish, and what is that breath from heaven which they seem to feel upon their brow? The intoxication of earthly love born of the meeting of youth and beauty. So be it! Slave, bring more such wine and let us drink--to Immortality and to those dear eyes that mirror forth a spirit's face! 7 G~MqnO|  
Such loves indeed are few. For they must be real and deep, and natures thus shaped are rare, nor do they often cross each other's line of life. Yes, there are few who can be borne so high, and none can breathe that ether long. Soon the wings which Love lent them in his hour of revelation will shrink and vanish, and the borrowers will fall back to the level of this world, happy if they escape uncrushed. Perchance even in their life-days, they may find these spirit wings again, overshadowing the altar of their vows in the hour of earthly marriage, if by some happy fate, marriage should be within their reach, or like the holy pinions of the goddess Nout, folded about a coffin, in the time of earthly death. But scant are the occasions, and few there are who know them. vlEd=H,LT  
Thus soared Beatrice and Geoffrey while the wild night beat around them, making a fit accompaniment to their stormy loves. And thus they too fell from heaven to earth. OXA_E/F  
"We must be going, Geoffrey; it grows late," said Beatrice. "Oh, Geoffrey, Geoffrey, what have we done? What can be the end of all this? It will bring trouble on you, I know that it must. The old saying will come true. I saved your life, and I shall bring ruin on you!" MX9 q )(:  
iSsy_ |  
It is characteristic of Beatrice that already she was thinking of the consequences to Geoffrey, not of those to herself. ]Wy V bIu  
"Beatrice," said Geoffrey, "we are in a desperate position. Do you wish to face it and come away with me, far away to the other side of the world?" G{s ,Y^  
"No, no," she answered vehemently, "it would be your ruin to abandon the career that is before you. What part of the world could you go to where you would not be known? Besides there is your wife to think of. Ah, God, your wife--what would she say of me? You belong to her, you have no right to desert her. And there is Effie too. No, Geoffrey, no, I have been wicked enough to learn to love you--oh, as you were never loved before, if it is wicked to do what one cannot help--but I am not bad enough for this. Walk quicker, Geoffrey; we shall be late, and they will suspect something." i#eb%9Mn  
Poor Beatrice, the pangs of conscience were finding her out! 0%&ZR=y(G  
"We are in a dreadful position," he said again. "Oh, dearest, I have been to blame. I should never have come back here. It is my fault; and though I never thought of this, I did my best to please you." QOX'ZAB`  
"And I thank you for it," she answered. "Do not deceive yourself, Geoffrey. Whatever happens, promise me never for one moment to believe that I reproached or blamed you. Why should I blame you because you won my heart? Let me sooner blame the sea on which we floated, the beach where we walked, the house in which we lived, and the Destiny that brought us together. I am proud and glad to love you, dear, but I am not so selfish as to wish to ruin you: Geoffrey--I had rather die." t:V._@  
"Don't talk so," he said, "I cannot bear it. What are we to do? Am I to go away and see you no more? How can we live so, Beatrice?" O#[bNLV  
"Yes, Geoffrey," she answered heavily, taking him by the hand and gazing up into his face, "you are to go away and see me no more, not for years and years. This is what we have brought upon ourselves, it is the price that we must pay for this hour which has gone. You are to go away to-morrow, that we may be put out of temptation, and you must come back no more. Sometimes I shall write to you, and sometimes perhaps you will write to me, till the thing becomes a burden, then you can stop. And whether you forget me or not--and, Geoffrey, I do not think you will--you will know that I shall never forget you, whom I saved from the sea--to love me." 9]G~i`QQ  
There was something so sweet and infinitely tender about her words, instinct as they were with natural womanly passion, that Geoffrey bent at heart beneath their weight as a fir bends beneath the gentle, gathering snow. What was he to do, how could he leave her? And yet she was right. He must go, and go quickly, lest his strength might fail him, and hand in hand they should pass a bourne from which there is no return. D.w6/DxaXa  
"Heaven help us, Beatrice," he said. "I will go to-morrow morning and, if I can, I will keep away." O]Q8&(  
J%8hf%! ud  
"You must keep away. I will not see you any more. I will not bring trouble on you, Geoffrey." _Uu p*#m  
"You talk of bringing trouble on me," he said; "you say nothing of yourself, and yet a man, even a man with eyes on him like myself, is better fitted to weather such a storm. If it ruined me, how much more would it ruin you?" 0UB,EI8   
<R7* 00  
They were at the gate of the Vicarage now, and the wind rushed so strongly through the firs that she needed to put her lips quite close to his ear to make her words heard. 7Nc@7_=  
"Stop, one minute," she said, "perhaps you do not quite understand. When a woman does what I have done, it is because she loves with all her life and heart and soul, because all these are a part of her love. For myself, I no longer care anything--I have no self away from you; I have ceased to be of myself or in my own keeping. I am of you and in yours. For myself and my own fate or name I think no more; with my eyes open and of my own free will I have given everything to you, and am glad and happy to give it. But for you I still do care, and if I took any step, or allowed you to take any that could bring sorrow on you, I should never forgive myself. That is why we must part, Geoffrey. And now let us go in; there is nothing more to say, except this: if you wish to bid me good-bye, a last good-bye, dear Geoffrey, I will meet you to-morrow morning on the beach." a2UER1Yp"  
"I shall leave at half-past eight," he said hoarsely. .Q?cNSWU  
"Then we will meet at seven," Beatrice said, and led the way into the house. J@H9nw+Q  
Elizabeth and Mr. Granger were already seated at supper. They supped at nine on Sunday nights; it was just half-past. w1rB"rB?  
"Dear me," said the old gentleman, "we began to think that you two must have been out canoeing and got yourselves drowned in good earnest this time. What have you been doing?" 0J7[n*~  
(VO) Q  
"We have had a long walk," answered Geoffrey; "I did not know that it was so late." lV?rC z  
"One wants to be pleased with one's company to walk far on such a night as this," put in Elizabeth maliciously. y"#o9"&>&  
J/>Y mi,  
"And so we were--at least I was," Geoffrey answered with perfect truth, "and the night is not so bad as you might think, at least under the lee of the cliffs. It will be worse by and by!" Di5eD,N  
Then they sat down and made a desperate show of eating supper. Elizabeth, the keen-eyed, noticed that Geoffrey's hand was shaking. Now what, she wondered, would make the hand of a strong man shake like a leaf? Deep emotion might do it, and Elizabeth thought that she detected other signs of emotion in them both, besides that of Geoffrey's shaking hand. The plot was working well, but could it be brought to a climax? Oh, if he would only throw prudence to the winds and run away with Beatrice, so that she might be rid of her, and free to fight for her own hand. _CN5,mLNRk  
_; /onM   
Shortly after supper both Elizabeth and Beatrice went to bed, leaving their father with Geoffrey. cc`+rD5I-  
h[H FZv~{  
"Well," said Mr. Granger, "did you get a word with Beatrice? It was very kind of you to go that long tramp on purpose. Gracious, how it blows! we shall have the house down presently. Lightning, too, I declare." qcpAjjK  
jiAKV0lX W  
"Yes," answered Geoffrey, "I did." 2o5Pbdel  
"Ah, I hope you told her that there was no need for her to give up hope of him yet, of Mr. Davies, I mean?" estDW1i)  
"Yes, I told her that--that is if the greater includes the less," he added to himself. slV7,4S&!  
"And how did she take it?" gUrb&#\X  
"Very badly," said Geoffrey; "she seemed to think that I had no right to interfere." ,]N!I%SI  
lPS A  
"Indeed, that is strange. But it doesn't mean anything. She's grateful enough to you at heart, depend upon it she is, only she did not like to say so. Dear me, how it blows; we shall have a night of it, a regular gale, I declare. So you are going away to-morrow morning. Well, the best of friends must part. I hope that you will often come and see us. Good-bye." %*.;3;m  
Once more a sense of the irony of the position overcame Geoffrey, and he smiled grimly as he lit his candle and went to bed. At the back of the house was a long passage, which terminated at one end in the room where he slept, and at the other in that occupied by Elizabeth and Beatrice. This passage was lit by two windows, and built out of it were two more rooms--that of Mr. Granger, and another which had been Effie's. The windows of the passage, like most of the others in the Vicarage, were innocent of shutters, and Geoffrey stood for a moment at one of them, watching the lightning illumine the broad breast of the mountain behind. Then looking towards the door of Beatrice's room, he gazed at it with the peculiar reverence that sometimes afflicts people who are very much in love, and, with a sigh, turned and sought his own.   [E(DGt  
F|V_i C+  
He could not sleep, it was impossible. For nearly two hours he lay turning from side to side, and thinking till his brain seemed like to burst. To-morrow he must leave her, leave her for ever, and go back to his coarse unprofitable struggle with the world, where there would be no Beatrice to make him happy through it all. And she, what of her? C3 0b}2  
gKb4n Nt  
The storm had lulled a little, now it came back in strength, heralded by the lightning. He rose, threw on a dressing-gown, and sat by a window watching it. Its tumult and fury seemed to ease his heart of some little of its pain; in that dark hour a quiet night would have maddened him. 6{lWUr  
In eight hours--eight short hours--this matter would be ended so far as concerned their actual intercourse. It would be a secret locked for ever in their two breasts, a secret eating at their hearts, cruel as the worm that dieth not. Geoffrey looked up and threw out his heart's thought towards his sleeping love. Then once more, as in a bygone night, there broke upon his brain and being that mysterious spiritual sense. Stronger and more strong it grew, beating on him in heavy unnatural waves, till his reason seemed to reel and sink, and he remembered naught but Beatrice, knew naught save that her very life was with him now. "E''ZBLO~  
He stretched out his arms towards the place where she should be. a<o0B{7{BM  
"Beatrice," he whispered to the empty air, "Beatrice! Oh, my love! my sweet! my soul! Hear me, Beatrice!" 8xv\Zj+  
There came a pause, and ever the unearthly sympathy grew and gathered in his heart, till it seemed to him as though separation had lost its power and across dividing space they were mingled in one being. TGLXvP& \  
A great gust shook the house and passed away along the roaring depths. kYAvzuGRb  
Oh! what was this? Silently the door opened, and a white draped form passed its threshold. He rose, gasping; a terrible fear, a terrible joy, took possession of him. The lightning flared out wildly in the eastern sky. There in the fierce light she stood before him--she, Beatrice, a sight of beauty and of dread. She stood with white arms outstretched, with white uncovered feet, her bosom heaving softly beneath her night-dress, her streaming hair unbound, her lips apart, her face upturned, and a stamp of terrifying calm. z"3c+?2  
  "In the wide, blind eyes uplift 4Z }{hc\J  
    Thro' the darkness and the drift." <q2nZI^  
Great Heaven, she was asleep! o!`O i5  
Hush! she spoke. zX [ r  
( *>/w$%  
"You called me, Geoffrey," she said, in a still, unnatural voice. "You called me, my beloved, and I--have--come." zf3:<CRX5  
He rose aghast, trembling like an aspen with doubt and fear, trembling at the sight of the conquering glory of the woman whom he worshipped. vS$oT]-hKE  
See! She drew on towards him, and she was asleep. Oh, what could he do? lf%b0na?r  
Suddenly the draught of the great gale rushing through the house caught the opened door and crashed it to. WP0 #i~3*  
She awoke with a wild stare of terror. <B!'3C(P  
"Oh, God, where am I?" she cried. Z?17Pu'Dp  
bhD ~ 4Rz  
"Hush, for your life's sake!" he answered, his faculties returning. "Hush! or you are lost." U]hF   
But there was no need to caution here to silence, for Beatrice's senses failed her at the shock, and she sank swooning in his arms. 1%~[rnQ  
""% A'TZ  

只看该作者 23楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXIII. A Dawn of Rain h0EEpL|\  
RU|Q ]Ymx  
  That crash of the closing door did not awake Beatrice only; it awoke both Elizabeth and Mr. Granger. Elizabeth sat up in bed straining her eyes through the gloom to see what had happened. They fell on Beatrice's bed--surely--surely---- G[PtkPSJ  
Elizabeth slipped up, cat-like she crept across the room and felt with her hand at the bed. Beatrice was not there. She sprang to the blind and drew it, letting in such light as there was, and by it searched the room. She spoke: "Beatrice, where are you?" ,Fl)^Gl8?  
Tk[ $5u*,  
No answer. Y5Bo|*b  
"Ah--h," said Elizabeth aloud; "I understand. At last--at last!" oulVg];  
`2WFk8) F  
What should see do? Should she go and call her father and put them to an open shame? No. Beatrice must come back some time. The knowledge was enough; she wanted the knowledge to use if necessary. She did not wish to ruin her sister unless in self-defence, or rather, for the cause of self-advancement. Still less did she wish to injure Geoffrey, against whom she had no grudge. So she peeped along the passage, then returning, crept back to her bed like a snake into a hole and watched. ZohCP  
]L $\ #  
Mr. Granger, hearing the crash, thought that the front door had blown open. Rising, he lit a candle and went to see. =E4LRKn  
But of all this Geoffrey knew nothing, and Beatrice naturally less than nothing. QUc= &5 %  
She lay senseless in his arms, her head rested on his shoulder, her heavy hair streamed down his side almost to his knee. He lifted her, touched her on the forehead with his lips and laid her on the bed. What was to be done? Bring her back to life? No, he dared not--not here. While she lay thus her helplessness protected her; but if once more she was a living, loving woman here and so--oh, how should they escape? He dared not touch her or look towards her--till he had made up his mind. It was soon done. Here she must not bide, and since of herself she could not go, why he must take her now, this moment! However far Geoffrey fell short of virtue's stricter standard, let this always be remembered in his favour. y| i,|  
He opened the door, and as he did so, thought that he heard some one stirring in the house. And so he did; it was Mr. Granger in the sitting-room. Hearing no more, Geoffrey concluded that it was the wind, and turning, groped his way to the bed where Beatrice lay as still as death. For one moment a horrible fear struck him that she might be dead. He had heard of cases of somnambulists who, on being startled from their unnatural sleep, only woke to die. It might be so with her. Hurriedly he placed his hand upon her breast. Yes, her heart stirred--faintly indeed, but still it stirred. She had only swooned. Then he set his teeth, and placing his arms about her, lifted her as though she were a babe. Beatrice was no slip of a girl, but a well- grown woman of full size. He never felt her weight; it seemed nothing to him. Stealthily as one bent on midnight murder, he stepped with her to the door and through it into the passage. Then supporting her with one arm, he closed the door with his left hand. Stealthily in the gloom he passed along the corridor, his bare feet making no noise upon the boarded floor, till he reached the bisecting passage leading from the sitting-rooms. Pe_W;q.  
X Swl Tg  
He glanced up it apprehensively, and what he saw froze the blood in his veins, for there coming down it, not eight paces from him, was Mr. Granger, holding a candle in his hand. What could be done? To get back to his room was impossible--to reach that of Beatrice was also impossible. With an effort he collected his thoughts, and like a flash of light it passed into his mind that the empty room was not two paces from him. A stride and he had reached it. Oh, where was the handle? and oh, if the room should be locked! By a merciful chance it was not. He stepped through the door, knocking Beatrice's feet against the framework as he did so, closed it--to shut it he had no time--and stood gasping behind it. kYP#SH/  
:(U ,x<>  
The gleam of light drew nearer. Merciful powers! he had been seen--the old man was coming in. What could he say? Tell the truth, that was all; but who would believe such a story? why, it was one that he should scarcely care to advance in a court of law. Could he expect a father to believe it--a father finding a man crouched like a thief behind a door at the dead of night with his lovely daughter senseless in his arms? He had already thought of going straight to Mr. Granger, but had abandoned the idea as hopeless. Who would believe this tale of sleep-walking? For the first time in his life Geoffrey felt terribly afraid, both for Beatrice and himself; the hair rose on his head, his heart stood still, and a cold perspiration started on to his face. ,\W 8b-Z  
"It's very odd," he heard the old man mutter to himself; "I could almost swear that I saw something white go into that room. Where's the handle? If I believed in ghosts--hullo! my candle has blown out! I must go and hunt for a match. Don't quite like going in there without a light." &@X<zWg  
For the moment they were saved. The fierce draught rushing through the open crack of the door from the ill-fitting window had extinguished the candle. 7uqzm  
Geoffrey waited a few seconds to allow Mr. Granger to reach his room, and then once more started on his awful journey. He passed out of the room in safety; happily Beatrice showed no signs of recovery. A few quick steps and he was at her own door. And now a new terror seized him. What if Elizabeth was also walking the house or even awake? He thought of putting Beatrice down at the door and leaving her there, but abandoned the idea. To begin with, her father might see her, and then how could her presence be accounted for? or if he did not, she would certainly suffer ill effects from the cold. No, he must risk it, and at once, though he would rather have faced a battery of guns. The door fortunately was ajar. Geoffrey opened it with his foot, entered, and with his foot pushed it to again. Suddenly he remembered that he had never been in the room, and did not know which bed belonged to Beatrice. He walked to the nearest; a deep-drawn breath told him that it was the wrong one. Drawing some faint consolation from the fact that Elizabeth was evidently asleep, he groped his way to the second bed through the deep twilight of the room. The clothes were thrown back. He laid Beatrice down and threw them over her. Then he fled. $?iLLA~  
As he reached the door he saw Mr. Granger's light disappear into his own room and heard his door close. After that it seemed to him that he took but two steps and was in his own place. .WJ YQi  
He burst out laughing; there was as much hysteria in the laugh as a man gives way to. His nerves were shattered by struggle, love and fear, and sought relief in ghastly merriment. Somehow the whole scene reminded him of one in a comic opera. There was a ludicrous side to it. Supposing that the political opponents, who already hated him so bitterly, could have seen him slinking from door to door at midnight with an unconscious lady in his arms--what would they have said? 7M~K,E(7~  
He ceased laughing; the fit passed--indeed it was no laughing matter. Then he thought of the first night of their strange communion, that night before he had returned to London. The seed sown in that hour had blossomed and borne fruit indeed. Who would have dreamed it possible that he should thus have drawn Beatrice to him? Well, he ought to have known. If it was possible that the words which floated through her mind could arise in his as they had done upon that night, what was not possible? And were there not other words, written by the same master- hand, which told of such things as these: (m/G(wg  
    "'Now--now,' the door is heard; &.Qrs :U  
    Hark, the stairs! and near-- s$`0yGmQ  
    Nearer--and here-- ~P **O~  
    'Now'! and at call the third, ~HsJUro  
    She enters without a word. Qe:seW  
    Like the doors of a casket shrine, }Oq5tC@$G  
    See on either side, Z o(rTCZX  
    Her two arms divide T'Dv.h  
    Till the heart betwixt makes sign, D_zZXbNc  
    'Take me, for I am thine.' "87:?v[[1  
    First, I will pray. Do Thou nZYBE030  
    That ownest the soul, -e:`|(Mo  
    Yet wilt grant control 5$C-9  
    To another, nor disallow <wD-qTW  
    For a time, restrain me now!" ' S/gmn  
Did they not run thus? Oh, he should have known! This he could plead, and this only--that control had been granted to him. 1 [Bk%G@D&  
But how would Beatrice fare? Would she come to herself safely? He thought so, it was only a fainting fit. But when she did recover, what would she do? Nothing rash, he prayed. And what could be the end of it all? Who might say? How fortunate that the sister had been so sound asleep. Somehow he did not trust Elizabeth--he feared her. <b*DQ:N  
Well might Geoffrey fear her! Elizabeth's sleep was that of a weasel. She too was laughing at this very moment, laughing, not loud but long --the laugh of one who wins. :.`2^  
She had seen him enter, his burden in his arms; saw him come with it to her own bedside, and had breathed heavily to warn him of his mistake. She had watched him put Beatrice on her bed, and heard him sigh and turn away; nothing had escaped her. As soon as he was gone, she had risen and crept up to Beatrice, and finding that she was only in a faint had left her to recover, knowing her to be in no danger. Elizabeth was not a nervous person. Then she had listened till at length a deep sigh told her of the return of her sister's consciousness. After this there was a pause, till presently Beatrice's long soft breaths showed that she had glided from swoon to sleep. =-Ck4e *T  
]I6  J7A[  
The slow night wore away, and at length the cold dawn crept through the window. Elizabeth still watching, for she was not willing to lose a single scene of a drama so entrancing in itself and so important to her interests, saw her sister suddenly sit up in bed and press her hands to her forehead, as though she was striving to recall a dream. Then Beatrice covered her eyes with her hands and groaned heavily. Next she looked at her watch, rose, drank a glass of water, and dressed herself, even to the putting on of an old grey waterproof with a hood to it, for it was wet outside. DW3G  
rW#T vUn  
"She is going to meet her lover," thought Elizabeth. "I wish I could be there to see that too, but I have seen enough." XB5DPx  
She yawned and appeared to wake. "What, Beatrice, going out already in this pouring rain?" she said, with feigned astonishment. G  .4X'  
eb$#A _m  
"Yes, I have slept badly and I want to get some air," answered Beatrice, starting and colouring; "I suppose that it was the storm." \Y}8S/]  
"Has there been a storm?" said Elizabeth, yawning again. "I heard nothing of it--but then so many things happen when one is asleep of which one knows nothing at the time," she added sleepily, like one speaking at random. "Mind that you are back to say good-bye to Mr. Bingham; he goes by the early train, you know--but perhaps you will see him out walking," and appearing to wake up thoroughly, she raised herself in bed and gave her sister one piercing look. _:27]K:  
Beatrice made no answer; that look sent a thrill of fear through her. Oh; what had happened! Or was it all a dream? Had she dreamed that she stood face to face with Geoffrey in his room before a great darkness struck her and overwhelmed her? Or was it an awful truth, and if a truth, how came she here again? She went to the pantry, found a morsel of bread and ate it, for faintness still pursued her. Then feeling better, she left the house and set her face towards the beach. @MCg%Afw  
It was a dreary morning. The great wind had passed; now it only blew in little gusts heavy with driving rain. The sea was sullen and grey and grand. It beat in thunder on the shore and flew over the sunken rocks in columns of leaden spray. The whole earth seemed one desolation, and all its grief was centred in this woman's broken heart. AkQ ~k0i}b  
Geoffrey, too, was up. How he had passed the remainder of that tragic night we need not inquire--not too happily we may be sure. He heard the front door close behind Beatrice, and followed out into the rain. 5taT5?n2  
On the beach, some half of a mile away, he found her gazing at the sea, a great white gull wheeling about her head. No word of greeting passed between them; they only grasped each other's hands and looked into each other's hollow eyes. h^(* Tv-!  
q Y? j#fzi  
"Come under the shelter of the cliff," he said, and she came. She stood beneath the cliff, her head bowed low, her face hidden by the hood, and spoke. 1FL~ndJs  
"Tell me what has happened," she said; "I have dreamed something, a worse dream than any that have gone before--tell me if it is true. Do not spare me." .*S#aq4S  
And Geoffrey told her all. WwBOM~/`2  
When he had finished she spoke again. <EB+1GFuI  
"By what shall I swear," she said, "that I am not the thing which you must think me? Geoffrey, I swear by my love for you that I am innocent. If I came--oh, the shame of it! if I came--to your room last night, it was my feet which led me, not my mind that led my feet. I went to sleep, I was worn out, and then I knew no more till I heard a dreadful sound, and saw you before me in a blaze of light, after which there was darkness." 0U(@= 7V  
n Mq,F#`3N  
"Oh, Beatrice, do not be distressed," he answered. "I saw that you were asleep. It is a dreadful thing which has happened, but I do not think that we were seen." #px+;k 5  
"I do not know," she said. "Elizabeth looked at me very strangely this morning, and she sees everything. Geoffrey, for my part, I neither know nor care. What I do care for is, what must you think of me? You must believe, oh!--I cannot say it. And yet I am innocent. Never, never did I dream of this. To come to you--thus--oh, it is shameless!" QGMV}y  
|QF7 uV  
"Beatrice, do not talk so. I tell you I know it. Listen--I drew you. I did not mean that you should come. I did not think that you would come, but it was my doing. Listen to me, dear," and he told her that which written words can ill express. #JqB ;'\  
When he had finished, she looked up, with another face; the deep shadow of her shame had left her. "I believe you, Geoffrey," she said, "because I know that you have not invented this to shield me, for I have felt it also. See by it what you are to me. You are my master and my all. I cannot withstand you if I would. I have little will apart from yours if you choose to gainsay mine. And now promise me this upon your word. Leave me uninfluenced; do not draw me to you to be your ruin. I make no pretence, I have laid my life at your feet, but while I have any strength to struggle against it, you shall never take it up unless you can do so to your own honour, and that is not possible. Oh, my dear, we might have been very happy together, happier than men and women often are, but it is denied to us. We must carry our cross, we must crucify the flesh upon it; perhaps so--who can say?--we may glorify the spirit. I owe you a great deal. I have learnt much from you, Geoffrey. I have learned to hope again for a Hereafter. Nothing is left to me now--but that--that and an hour hence--your memory. d.aS{;pse  
m 1b?J3   
"Oh, why should I weep? It is ungrateful, when I have your love, for which this misery is but a little price to pay. Kiss me, dear, and go --and never see me more. You will not forget me, I know now that you will never forget me all your life. Afterwards--perhaps--who can tell? If not, why then--it will indeed be best--to die." cUk7i`M;6  
                  *       *       *       *       *It is not well to linger over such a scene as this. After all, too, it is nothing. Only another broken heart or so. The world breaks so many this way and the other that it can have little pleasure in gloating over such stale scenes of agony. !"AvY y9  
Besides we must not let our sympathies carry us away. Geoffrey and Beatrice deserved all they got; they had no business to put themselves into such a position. They had defied the customs of their world, and the world avenged itself upon them and their petty passions. What happens to the worm that tries to burrow on the highways? Grinding wheels and crushing feet; these are its portion. Beatrice and Geoffrey point a moral and adorn a tale. So far as we can see and judge there was no need for them to have plunged into that ever-running river of human pain. Let them struggle and drown, and let those who are on the bank learn wisdom from the sight, and hold out no hand to help them. ZmqKQO  
Geoffrey drew a ring from his finger and gave it to his love. It was a common flat-sided silver ring that had been taken from the grave of a Roman soldier: one peculiarity it had, however; on its inner surface were roughly cut the words, "ave atque vale." Greeting and farewell! It was a fitting gift to pass between people in their position. Beatrice, trembling sorely, whispered that she would wear it on her heart, upon her hand she could not put it yet awhile--it might be recognised. tIi&;tw]  
w/<L Ag  
Then thrice did they embrace there upon the desolate shore, once, as it were, for past joy, once for present pain, and once for future hope, and parted. There was no talk of after meetings--they felt them to be impossible, at any rate for many years. How could they meet as indifferent friends? Too much they loved for that. It was a final parting, than which death had been less dreadful--for Hope sits ever by the bed of death--and misery crushed them to the earth. o[4}h:> dq  
He left her, and happiness went out of his life as at nightfall the daylight goes out of the day. Well, at least he had his work to go to. But Beatrice, poor woman, what had she? Hio0HL-  
Geoffrey left her. When he had gone some thirty paces he turned again and gazed his last upon her. There she stood or rather leant, her hand resting against the wet rock, looking after him with her wide grey eyes. Even through the drizzling rain he could see the gleam of her rich hair, the marking of her lovely face, and the carmine of her lips. She motioned to him to go on. He went, and when he had traversed a hundred paces looked round once more. She was still there, but now her face was a blur, and again the great white gull hovered about her head. 1GRCV8 "Z^  
Then the mist swept up and hid her. +sA2WK]  
Ah, Beatrice, with all your brains you could never learn those simple principles necessary to the happiness of woman; principles inherited through a thousand generations of savage and semi-civilized ancestresses. To accept the situation and the master that situation brings with it--this is the golden rule of well-being. Not to put out the hand of your affection further than you can draw it back, this is another, at least not until you are quite sure that its object is well within your grasp. If by misfortune, or the anger of the Fates, you are endowed with those deeper qualities, those extreme capacities of self-sacrificing affection, such as ruined your happiness, Beatrice, keep them in stock; do not expose them to the world. The world does not believe in them; they are inconvenient and undesirable; they are even immoral. What the world wants, and very rightly, in a person of your attractiveness is quiet domesticity of character, not the exhibition of attributes which though they might qualify you for the rank of heroine in a Greek drama, are nowadays only likely to qualify you for the reprobation of society. \b x$i*  
What? you would rather keep your love, your reprehensible love which never can be satisfied, and bear its slings and arrows, and die hugging a shadow to your heart, straining your eyes into the darkness of that beyond whither you shall go--murmuring with your pale lips that there you will find reason and fulfilment? Why it is folly. What ground have you to suppose that you will find anything of the sort? Go and take the opinion of some scientific person of eminence upon this infatuation of yours and those vague visions of glory that shall be. He will explain it clearly enough, will show you that your love itself is nothing but a natural passion, acting, in your case, on a singularly sensitive and etherealised organism. Be frank with him, tell him of your secret hopes. He will smile tenderly, and show you how those also are an emanation from a craving heart, and the innate superstitions of mankind. Indeed he will laugh and illustrate the absurdity of the whole thing by a few pungent examples of what would happen if these earthly affections could be carried beyond the grave. Take what you can now will be the burden of his song, and for goodness' sake do not waste your precious hours in dreams of a To Be. rILYI;'o  
AwR =]W;j  
Beatrice, the world does not want your spirituality. It is not a spiritual world; it has no clear ideas upon the subject--it pays its religious premium and works off its aspirations at its weekly church going, and would think the person a fool who attempted to carry theories of celestial union into an earthly rule of life. It can sympathise with Lady Honoria; it can hardly sympathise with you. ~n_HP_Kf?  
n$R)>n Y  
And yet you will still choose this better part: you will still "live and love, and lose." Q!3_$<5<E>  
  "With blinding tears and passionate beseeching, []T8k9g/-  
    And outstretched arms through empty silence reaching." UxBpdm%dvP  
Then, Beatrice, have your will, sow your seed of tears, and take your chance. You may find that you were right and the worldlings wrong, and you may reap a harvest beyond the grasp of their poor imaginations. And if you find that they are right and you are wrong, what will it matter to you who sleep? For of this at least you are sure. If there is no future for such earthly love as yours, then indeed there is none for the children of this world and all their troubling. >Gu M]qn  

只看该作者 24楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXIV. Lady Honoria Takes the Field e+WNk 2  
tmq OJ  
  Geoffrey hurried to the Vicarage to fetch his baggage and say good- bye. He had no time for breakfast, and he was glad of it, for he could not have eaten a morsel to save his life. He found Elizabeth and her father in the sitting-room. oA 1yIp  
"Why, where have you been this wet morning, Mr. Bingham?" said Mr. Granger. 2 ?C)&  
"I have been for a walk with Miss Beatrice; she is coming home by the village," he answered. "I don't mind rain, and I wanted to get as much fresh air as I could before I go back to the mill. Thank you--only a cup of tea--I will get something to eat as I go." P?<y%c<  
"How kind of him," reflected Mr. Granger; "no doubt he has been speaking to Beatrice again about Owen Davies." & kIFcd@  
"Oh, by the way," he added aloud, "did you happen to hear anybody moving in the house last night, Mr. Bingham, just when the storm was at its height? First of all a door slammed so violently that I got up to see what it was, and as I came down the passage I could almost have sworn that I saw something white go into the spare room. But my candle went out and by the time that I had found a light there was nothing to be seen." wzaV;ac4K  
"A clear case of ghosts," said Geoffrey indifferently. It was indeed a "case of ghosts," and they would, he reflected, haunt him for many a day. U&xUfBDt  
m4& /s  
"How very odd," put in Elizabeth vivaciously, her keen eyes fixed intently on his face. "Do you know I thought that I twice saw the door of our room open and shut in the most mysterious fashion. I think that Beatrice must have something to do with it; she is so uncanny in her ways." {|\.i  
Geoffrey never moved a muscle, he was trained to keep his countenance. Only he wondered how much this woman knew. She must be silenced somehow. 9/;P->wy  
"Excuse me for changing the subject," he said, "but my time is short, and I have none to spare to hunt the 'Vicarage Ghost.' By the way, there's a good title for somebody. Mr. Granger, I believe that I may speak of business matters before Miss Elizabeth?" h@h!,;  
"Certainly, Mr. Bingham," said the clergyman; "Elizabeth is my right hand, and has the best business head in Bryngelly." orvp*F{7[H  
27< Enq]  
Geoffrey thought that this was very evident, and went on. "I only want to say this. If you get into any further difficulties with your rascally tithe-payers, mind and let me know. I shall always be glad to help you while I can. And now I must be going." =iD 3Yt  
He spoke thus for two reasons. First, naturally enough, he meant to make it his business to protect Beatrice from the pressure of poverty, and well knew that it would be useless to offer her direct assistance. Secondly, he wished to show Elizabeth that it would not be to the advantage of her family to quarrel with him. If she had seen a ghost, perhaps this fact would make her reticent on the subject. He did not know that she was playing a much bigger game for her own hand, a game of which the stakes were thousands a year, and that she was moreover mad with jealousy and what, in such a woman, must pass for love. Km6YP!i  
Elizabeth made no comment on his offer, and before Mr. Granger's profuse thanks were nearly finished, Geoffrey was gone. pK'V9fD5J  
\:ak ''  
Three weeks passed at Bryngelly, and Elizabeth still held her hand. Beatrice, pale and spiritless, went about her duties as usual. Elizabeth never spoke to her in any sense that could awaken her suspicions, and the ghost story was, or appeared to be, pretty well forgotten. But at last an event occurred that caused Elizabeth to take the field. One day she met Owen Davies walking along the beach in the semi-insane way which he now affected. He stopped, and, without further ado, plunged into conversation. G&V/Gj8  
"I can't bear it any longer," he said wildly, throwing up his arms. "I saw her yesterday, and she cut me short before I could speak a word. I have prayed for patience and it will not come, only a Voice seemed to say to me that I must wait ten days more, ten short days, and then Beatrice, my beautiful Beatrice, would be my wife at last." =~H<Z LE+  
"If you go on in this way, Mr. Davies," said Elizabeth sharply, her heart filled with jealous anger, "you will soon be off your head. Are you not ashamed of yourself for making such a fuss about a girl's pretty face? If you want to get married, marry somebody else." S` ;?z  
"Marry somebody else," he said dreamily; "I don't know anybody else whom I could marry except you, and you are not Beatrice." /[)qEl2]K  
"No," answered Elizabeth angrily, "I should hope that I have more sense, and if you wanted to marry me you would have to set about it in a different way from this. I am not Beatrice, thank Heaven, but I am her sister, and I warn you that I know more about her than you do. As a friend I warn you to be careful. Supposing that Beatrice were not worthy of you, you would not wish to marry her, would you?" aZ'Lx:)R  
Now Owen Davies was at heart somewhat afraid of Elizabeth, like most other people who had the privilege of her acquaintance. Also, apart from matters connected with his insane passion, he was very fairly shrewd. He suspected Elizabeth of something, he did not know of what. mJ`A_0  
"No, no, of course not," he said. "Of course I would not marry her if she was not fit to be my wife--but I must know that first, before I talk of marrying anybody else. Good afternoon, Miss Elizabeth. It will soon be settled now; it cannot go on much longer now. My prayers will be answered, I know they will." 0{PzUIM,W  
dN}#2Bo =  
"You are right there, Owen Davies," thought Elizabeth, as she looked after him with ineffable bitterness, not to say contempt. "Your prayers shall be answered in a way that will astonish you. You shall not marry Beatrice, and you shall marry me. The fish has been on the line long enough, now I must begin to pull in." T!}[yW  
Curiously enough it never really occurred to Elizabeth that Beatrice herself might prove to be the true obstacle to the marriage she plotted to prevent. She knew that her sister was fond of Geoffrey Bingham, but, when it came to the point that she would absolutely allow her affection to interfere with so glorious a success in life, she never believed for one moment. Of course she thought it was possible that if Beatrice could get possession of Geoffrey she might prefer to do so, but failing him, judging from her own low and vulgar standard, Elizabeth was convinced that she would take Owen. It did not seem possible that what was so precious in her own eyes might be valueless and even hateful to those of her sister. As for that little midnight incident, well, it was one thing and marriage was another. People forget such events when they marry; sometimes even they marry in order to forget them. ^U8r0]9  
Yes, she must strike, but how? Elizabeth had feelings like other people. She did not mind ruining her sister and rival, but she would very much prefer it should not be known that hers was the hand to cut her down. Of course, if the worst came to the worst, she must do it. Meanwhile, might not a substitute be found--somebody in whom the act would seem not one of vengeance, but of virtue? Ah! she had it: Lady Honoria! Who could be better for such a purpose than the cruelly injured wife? But then how should she communicate the facts to her ladyship without involving herself? Again she hit upon a device much favoured by such people--"un vieux truc mais toujours bon"--the pristine one of an anonymous letter, which has the startling merit of not committing anybody to anything. An anonymous letter, to all appearance written by a servant: it was the very thing! Most likely it would result in a searching inquiry by Lady Honoria, in which event Elizabeth, of course against her will, would be forced to say what she knew; almost certainly it would result in a quarrel between husband and wife, which might induce the former to show his hand, or even to take some open step as regards Beatrice. She was sorry for Geoffrey, against whom she had no ill feeling, but it could not be helped; he must be sacrificed. te4= S  
; W7Y2Md  
That very evening she wrote her letter and sent it to be posted by an old servant living in London. It was a master-piece in its way, especially phonetically. This precious epistle, which was most exceedingly ill writ in a large coarse hand, ran thus: y^FOsr  
Z]-WFU_ N  
"My Ladi,--My consence druvs me to it, much again my will. I've tried hard, my ladi, not to speek, first acorse of miss B. as i heve knowed good and peur and also for the sakes of your evil usband that wulf in scheeps cloathin. But when i think on you my ladi a lorful legel wife gud and virtus and peur and of the things as i hev seen which is enuf to bring a blush to the face of a stater, I knows it is my holy dooty to rite your ladishipp as follers. Your ladishipp forgif me but on the nite of whittsundey last Miss B. Grainger wint after midnite inter the room of your bad usband--as I was to mi sham ther to se. Afterward more nor an hour, she cum out ain being carred in his harmes. And if your ladishipp dont believ me, let your ladishipp rite to miss elizbeth, as had this same misfortune to see as your tru frend, }BN\/;<A  
"The Riter." E8tD)=1  
In due course this charming communication reached Lady Honoria, bearing a London post-mark. She read and re-read it, and soon mastered its meaning. Then, after a night's thought, she took the "Riter's" advice and wrote to Elizabeth, sending her a copy of the letter (her own), vehemently repudiating all belief in it, and asking for a reply that should dissipate this foul slander from her mind for ever. WOH9%xv  
The answer came by return. It was short and artful. />!!ch  
! fX9*0L  
"Dear Lady Honoria Bingham," it ran, "you must forgive me if I decline to answer the questions in your letter. You will easily understand that between a desire to preserve a sister's reputation and an incapacity (to be appreciated by every Christian) to speak other than the truth--it is possible for a person to be placed in the most cruel of positions--a position which I am sure will command even your sympathy, though under such circumstances I have little right to expect any from a wife believing herself to have been cruelly wronged. Let me add that nothing short of the compulsion of a court of law will suffice to unseal my lips as to the details of the circumstances (which are, I trust, misunderstood) alluded to in the malicious anonymous letter of which you inclose a copy." kEx8+2s=M  
- =yTAx  
That very evening, as the Fates would have it, Lady Honoria and her husband had a quarrel. As usual, it was about Effie, for on most other subjects they preserved an armed neutrality. Its details need not be entered into, but at last Geoffrey, who was in a sadly irritable condition of mind, fairly lost his temper. ?i/73H+;D3  
U[blq M  
"The fact is," he said, "that you are not fit to look after the child. You only think of yourself, Honoria." F%w\D9+P  
She turned on him with a dangerous look upon her cold and handsome face. eh8<?(eK  
"Be careful what you say, Geoffrey. It is you who are not fit to have charge of Effie. Be careful lest I take her away from you altogether, as I can if I like." v= 8~ZDY  
|iF1 A  
"What do you mean by that threat?" he asked. o 2$<>1^  
|7 W6I$Xl  
"Do you want to know? Then I will tell you. I understand enough law to be aware that a wife can get a separation from an unfaithful husband, and what is more, can take away his children." 'e8d["N  
"Again I ask what you mean," said Geoffrey, turning cold with anger. Ns] 9-D  
"I mean this, Geoffrey. That Welsh girl is your mistress. She passed the night of Whit-Sunday in your room, and was carried from it in your arms." |a~&E@0c  
"It is a lie," he said; "she is nothing of the sort. I do not know who gave you this information, but it is a slanderous lie, and somebody shall suffer for it." DY27'`n6  
jWCC`0 T  
"Nobody will suffer for it, Geoffrey, because you will not dare to stir the matter up--for the girl's sake if not for your own. Can you deny that you were seen carrying her in your arms from your room on Whit-Sunday night? Can you deny that you are in love with her?" PQ|x?98  
"And supposing that I am in love with her, is it to be wondered at, seeing how you treat me and have treated me for years?" he answered furiously. "It is utterly false to say that she is my mistress." 4\RuJx  
"You have not answered my question," said Lady Honoria with a smile of triumph. "Were you seen carrying that woman in your arms and from your room at the dead of night? Of course it meant nothing, nothing at all. Who would dare to asperse the character of this perfect, lovely, and intellectual schoolmistress? I am not jealous, Geoffrey----" mYvm_t9  
"I should think not, Honoria, seeing how things are." 3IIlAzne;  
"I am not jealous, I repeat, but please understand that I will not have this go on, in your own interests and mine. Why, what a fool you must be. Don't you know that a man who has risen, as you have, has a hundred enemies ready to spring on him like a pack of wolves and tear him to pieces? Why many even of those who fawn upon you and flatter you to your face, hate you bitterly in secret, because you have succeeded where they have failed. Don't you know also that there are papers here in London which would give hundreds of pounds for the chance of publishing such a scandal as this, especially against a powerful political opponent. Let it once come out that this obscure girl is your mistress----" {<lV=0]  
1<*-, f  
"Honoria, I tell you she is nothing of the sort. It is true I carried her from my room in a fainting fit, but she came there in her sleep." 2neiUNT  
Lady Honoria laughed. "Really, Geoffrey, I wonder that you think it worth while to tell me such nonsense. Keep it for the divorce court, if ever we get there, and see what a jury says to it. Look here; be sensible. I am not a moralist, and I am not going to play the outraged wife unless you force me to it. I do not mean to take any further notice of this interesting little tale as against you. But if you go on with it, beware! I will not be made to look a fool. If you are going to be ruined you can be ruined by yourself. I warn you frankly, that at the first sign of it, I shall put myself in the right by commencing proceedings against you. Now, of course, I know this, that in the event of a smash, you would be glad enough to be rid of me in order that you might welcome your dear Beatrice in my place. But there are two things to remember: first, that you could not marry her, supposing you to be idiot enough to wish to do so, because I should only get a judicial separation, and you would still have to support me. Secondly, if I go, Effie goes with me, for I have a right to claim her at law; and that fact, my dear Geoffrey, makes me mistress of the situation, because I do not suppose that you would part with Effie even for the sake of Miss Beatrice. And now I will leave you to think it over." ]5^u^  
And with a little nod she sailed out of the room, completely victorious. She was indeed, reflected Geoffrey, "mistress of the situation." Supposing that she brought a suit against him where would he be? She must have evidence, or she would not have known the story. The whole drama had clearly been witnessed by someone, probably either by Elizabeth or the servant girl, and that some one had betrayed it to Honoria and possibly to others. The thought made him sick. He was a man of the world, and a practical lawyer, and though, indeed, they were innocent, he knew that under the circumstances few would be found to believe it. At the very best there must be a terrible and shocking scandal, and Beatrice would lose her good name. He placed himself in the position of counsel for the petitioner in a like case, and thought how he would crush and crumple such a defence in his address to the jury. A probable tale forsooth! (HY|0Bgr  
Undoubtedly, too, Honoria would be acting wisely from her point of view. Public sympathy would be with her throughout. He knew that, as it was, he was believed generally to owe much of his success to his handsome and high-born wife. Now it would be said that he had used her as a ladder and then thrown her over. With all this, however, he might cope; he could even bear with the vulgar attacks of a vulgar press, and the gibes and jeers of his political and personal enemies, but to lose Effie he could not bear. And if such a case were brought against him it was almost certain that he would lose her, for, if he was worsted, custody of the child would be given to the injured wife. O GSJR`yT  
Then there was Beatrice to be considered. The same malicious tongue that had revealed this matter to Honoria would probably reveal it to the rest of the world, and even if he escaped the worst penalties of outraged morality, they would certainly be wreaked upon her. Beatrice's reputation would be blasted, her employment lost, and her life made a burden to her. Yes, decidedly, Honoria had the best of the position; decidedly, also, she spoke words of weight and common sense. -49OE*uF  
What was to be done? Was there no way out of it? All that night as Geoffrey sat in the House, his arms folded on his breast, and to appearance intently listening to the long harangues of the Opposition, this question haunted him. He argued the situation out this way and that way, till at the last he came to a conclusion. Either he must wait for the scandal to leak out, let Beatrice be ruined, and direct his efforts to the softening of Honoria, and generally to self- preservation, or he must take the bull by the horns, must abandon his great career and his country and seek refuge in another land, say America, taking Beatrice and Effie with him. Once the child was out of the jurisdiction, of course no court could force her from him.  Jcy  
r. =_=V/t  
Of the two courses, even in so far as he himself was concerned, what between the urgency of the matter and the unceasing pressure of his passion, Geoffrey inclined to the latter. The relations between himself and Honoria had for years been so strained, so totally different from those which should exist between man and wife, that they greatly mitigated in his mind the apparent iniquity of such a step. Nor would he feel much compunction at removing the child from her mother, for there was no love lost between the two, and as time went on he guessed shrewdly there would be less and less. For the rest, he had some seventeen thousand pounds in hand; he would take half and leave Honoria half. He knew that he could always earn a living wherever he went, and probably much more than a living, and of whatever he earned a strict moiety should be paid to Honoria. But first and above everything, there was Beatrice to be considered. She must be saved, even if he ruined himself to save her. &Dgho  
Lady Honoria, it is scarcely necessary to say, had little idea that she was driving her husband to such dangerous and determined councils. She wanted to frighten Geoffrey, not to lose him and all he meant to her; this was the last thing that she would wish to do. She did not greatly care about the Beatrice incident, but her shrewd common sense told her that it might well be used as an engine to ruin them all. Therefore she spoke as she did speak, though in reality matters would have to be bad indeed before she sought the aid of a court of law, where many things concerning herself might come to the light of day which she would prefer to leave in darkness. ;^^u_SuH  
h/ ?8F^C#v  
Nor did she stop here; she determined to attack Geoffrey's position in another way, namely, through Beatrice herself. For a long time Honoria hesitated as to the method of this attack. She had some knowledge of the world and of character, and from what she knew of Beatrice she came to the sound conclusion that she was not a woman to be threatened, but rather one to be appealed to. So after much thought she wrote to her thus:-- Ol`/r@s  
"A story, which I still hesitate to believe, has come to me by means of anonymous letters, as to your conduct with my husband. I do not wish to repeat it now, further than to say that, if true, it establishes circumstances which leave no doubt as to the existence of relations so intimate between you as to amount to guilt. It may not be true or it may, in which latter event I wish to say this: With your morality I have nothing to do; it is your affair. Nor do I wish to plead to you as an injured wife or to reproach you, for there are things too wicked for mere reproach. But I will say this: if the story is true, I must presume that you have some affection for the partner of your shame. I put myself out of the question, and in the name of that affection, however guilty it may be, I ask you to push matters no further. To do so will be to bring its object to utter ruin. If you care for him, sever all connection with him utterly and for ever. Otherwise he will live to curse and hate you. Should you neglect this advice, and should the facts that I have heard become public property, I warn you, as I have already warned him, that in self-preservation and for the sake of self-respect, I shall be forced to appeal to the law for my remedy. Remember that his career is at stake, and that in losing it and me he will lose also his child. Remember that if this comes about it will be through you. Do not answer this, it will do no good, for I shall naturally put no faith in your protestations, but if you are in any way or measure guilty of this offence, appealing to you as one woman to another, and for the sake of the man who is dear to both, I say do your best to redeem the evil, by making all further communication between yourself and him an impossibility. 6Xb\a^ q  
H.B." rVowHP  
Rcs7 'q5  
It was a clever letter; Lady Honoria could not have devised one more powerful to work on a woman like Beatrice. The same post that took it to her took another from Geoffrey himself. It was long, though guarded, and need not be quoted in its entirety, but it put the whole position before her in somewhat veiled language, and ended by saying, "Marriage I cannot give you, only life-long love. In other circumstances to offer this would be an insult, but if things should be as a I fear, it is worth your consideration. I do not say to you come, I say come if you wish. No, Beatrice, I will not put this cruel burden of decision upon you. I say come! I do not command you to come, because I promised to leave you uninfluenced. But I pray you to do so. Let us put an end to this wretchedness, and count the world well lost as our price of love. Come, dearest Beatrice--to leave me no more till death. I put my life in your hands; if you take it up, whatever trouble you may have to face, you will never lose my affection or esteem. Do not think of me, think of yourself. You have given me your love as you once gave me my life. I owe something in return; I cannot see you shamed and make no offer of reparation. Indeed, so far as I am concerned, I shall think all I lose as nothing compared to what I gain in gaining you. Will you come? If so, we will leave this country and begin afresh elsewhere. After all, it matters little, and will matter less when everything is said and done. My life has for years been but as an unwholesome dream. The one real thing, the one happy thing that I have found in it has been our love. Do not let us throw it away, Beatrice." L3lf28W  
By return of post he received this answer written in pencil. -8;U1^#  
  "No, dear Geoffrey. Things must take their course.--B." 3tY \0y9  
That was all. F;$z[z  
{jB& e,  

只看该作者 25楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXV. Elizabeth Shows Her Teeth ]yc&ffe%  
  Hard had been Beatrice's hours since that grey morning of separation. She must bear all the inner wretchedness of her lot; she must conceal her grief, must suffer the slings and arrows of Elizabeth's sharp tongue, and strive to keep Owen Davies at a distance. Indeed, as the days went on, this last task grew more and more portentous. The man was quite unmanageable; his passion, which was humiliating and hateful to Beatrice, became the talk of the place. Everybody knew of it, except her father, and even his eyes began to be opened. #2dd`F8  
One night--it was the same upon which Geoffrey and Honoria respectively had posted their letters to Beatrice--anybody looking into the little room at Bryngelly Castle, which served its owner for all purposes except that of sleeping, would have witnessed a very strange sight. Owen Davies was walking to and fro--walking rapidly with wild eyes and dishevelled hair. At the turn of each length of the apartment he would halt, and throwing his arms into the air ejaculate: ;!k{{Xndd  
"Oh, God, hear me, and give me my desire! Oh, God, answer me!" "Z\^dR  
For two long hours thus he walked and thus cried aloud, till at length he sank panting and exhausted into a chair. Suddenly he raised his head, and appeared to listen intently. C2Pw;iK_t  
,rC$~ &  
"The Voice," he said aloud; "the Voice again. What does it say? To-morrow, to-morrow I must speak; and I shall win her." Kc%GxD`  
He sprang up with a shout, and once more began his wild march. "Oh, Beatrice!" he said, "to-morrow you will promise to marry me; the Voice says so, and soon, soon, perhaps in one short month, you will be my own--mine only! Geoffrey Bingham shall not come between us then, for I will watch you day and night. You shall be my very, very own--my own beautiful Beatrice," and he stretched out his arms and clasped at the empty air--a crazy and unpleasant sight to see. S 6|#9C&  
And so he walked and spoke till the dawn was grey in the east. This occurred on the Friday night. It was on the following morning that Beatrice, the unfortunate and innocent object of these amorous invocations, received the two letters. She had gone to the post-office on her way to the school, on the chance of there being a note from Geoffrey. Poor woman, his letters were the one bright thing in her life. From motives of prudence they were written in the usual semi- formal style, but she was quick to read between the lines, and, moreover, they came from his dear hand. Si:$zGL$(  
There was the letter sure enough, and another in a woman's writing. She recognised the hand as that of Lady Honoria, which she had often seen on envelopes directed to Geoffrey, and a thrill of fear shot through her. She took the letters, and walking as quickly as she could to the school, locked herself in her own little room, for it was not yet nine o'clock, and looked at them with a gathering terror. What was in them? Why did Lady Honoria write to her? Which should she read first? In a moment Beatrice had made up her mind. She would face the worst at once. With a set face she opened Lady Honoria's letter, unfolded it, and read. We already know its contents. As her mind grasped them her lips grew ashy white, and by the time that the horrible thing was done she was nigh to fainting. ;GjZvo  
Anonymous letters! oh, who could have done this cruel thing? Elizabeth, it must be Elizabeth, who saw everything, and thus stabbed her in the back. Was it possible that her own sister could treat her so? She knew that Elizabeth disliked her; she could never fathom the cause, still she knew the fact. But if this were her doing, then she must hate her, and most bitterly; and what had she done to earn such hate? And now Geoffrey was in danger on her account, danger of ruin, and how could she prevent it? This was her first idea. Most people might have turned to their own position and been content to leave their lover to fight his own battle. But Beatrice thought little of herself. He was in danger, and how could she protect him? Why here in the letter was the answer! "If you care for him sever all connection with him utterly, and for ever. Otherwise, he will live to curse and hate you." No, no! Geoffrey would never do that. But Lady Honoria was quite right; in his interest, for his sake, she must sever all connection with him--sever it utterly and for ever. But how--how? dPtQ Sa  
@=0O' XM  
She thrust the letter into her dress--a viper would have been a more welcome guest--and opened Geoffrey's. NETji:d  
It told the same tale, but offered a different solution. The tears started to her eyes as she read his offer to take her to him for good and all, and go away with her to begin life afresh. It seemed a wonderful thing to Beatrice that he should be willing to sacrifice so much upon such a worthless altar as her love--a wonderful and most generous thing. She pressed the senseless paper to her heart, then kissed it again and again. But she never thought of yielding to this great temptation, never for one second. He prayed her to come, but that she would not do while her will remained. What, she bring Geoffrey to ruin? No, she had rather starve in the streets or perish by slow torture. How could he ever think that she would consent to such a scheme? Indeed she never would; she had brought enough trouble on him already. But oh, she blessed him for that letter. How deeply must he love her when he could offer to do this for her sake! d:x=g i!  
Hark! the children were waiting; she must go and teach. The letter, Geoffrey's dear letter, could be answered in the afternoon. So she thrust it in her breast with the other, but closer to her heart, and went. &f\ng{  
That afternoon as Mr. Granger, in a happy frame of mind--for were not his debts paid, and had he not found a most convenient way of providing against future embarrassment?--was engaged peaceably in contemplating his stock over the gate of his little farm buildings, he was much astonished suddenly to discover Owen Davies at his elbow. >Ic)RPO9  
H\f.a R=  
"How do you do, Mr. Davies?" he said; "how quietly you must have come." 05zBB  
"Yes," answered Owen absently. "The fact is, I have followed you because I want to speak to you alone--quite alone." LYPjdp2>"o  
"Indeed, Mr. Davies--well, I am at your service. What is wrong? You don't look very well." Z 55iq  
"Oh, I am quite well, thank you. I never was better; and there's nothing wrong, nothing at all. Everything is going to be bright now, I know that full surely." d:C-   
"Indeed," said Mr. Granger, again looking at him with a puzzled air, "and what may you want to see me about? Not but what I am always at your service, as you know," he added apologetically. !_rAAY  
%7 h _D  
"This," he answered, suddenly seizing the clergyman by the coat in a way that made him start. 6KPM4#61o  
8 hx4N  
"What--my coat, do you mean?" QP f*!E  
"Don't be so foolish, Mr. Granger. No, about Beatrice." \d$fi*{  
"Oh. indeed, Mr. Davies. Nothing wrong at the school, I hope? I think that she does her duties to the satisfaction of the committee, though I admit that the arithmetic----" 8~*<s5H  
"No! no, no! It is not about the school. I don't wish her to go to the school any more. I love her, Mr. Granger, I love her dearly, and I want to marry her." Dp1FX"a)  
The old man flushed with pleasure. Was it possible? Did he hear aright? Owen Davies, the richest man in that part of Wales, wanted to marry his daughter, who had nothing but her beauty. It must be too good to be true! >.sdLA Si  
"I am indeed flattered," he said. "It is more than she could expect-- not but what Beatrice is very good-looking and very clever," he added hastily, fearing lest he was detracting from his daughter's market value. )Bz2-|\  
"Good-looking--clever; she is an angel," murmured Owen. `d,v  
DN X-\  
"Oh, yes, of course she is," said her father, "that is, if a woman-- yes, of course--and what is more, I think she's very fond of you. I think she is pining for you. I've though so for a long time."  ob_*fP  
"Is she?" said Owen anxiously. "Then all I have to say is that she takes a very curious way of showing it. She won't say a word to me; she puts me off on every occasion. But it will be all right now--all right now." 1"fbQ^4`  
"Oh, there, there, Mr. Davies, maids will be maids until they are wives. We know about all that," said Mr. Granger sententiously. yk0#byW`  
1 R,?kUa  
His would-be son-in-law looked as though he knew very little about it indeed, although the inference was sufficiently obvious. 'A)9h7k}  
"Mr. Granger," he said, seizing his hand, "I want to make Beatrice my wife--I do indeed." $fG~;`T  
"Well, I did not suppose otherwise, Mr. Davies." Bo8NY!  
"If you help me in this I will do whatever you like as to money matters and that sort of thing, you know. She shall have as fine a settlement as any woman in Wales. I know that goes a long way with a father, and I shall raise no difficulties." p$qk\efv*4  
"Very right and proper, I am sure," said Mr. Granger, adopting a loftier tone as he discovered the advantages of his position. "But of course on such matters I shall take the advice of a lawyer. I daresay that Mr. Bingham would advise me," he added, "as a friend of the family, you know. He is a very clever lawyer, and, besides, he wouldn't charge anything." yKl^-%Uq<  
"Oh, no, not Mr. Bingham," answered Owen anxiously. "I will do anything you like, or if you wish to have a lawyer I'll pay the bill myself. But never mind about that now. Let us settle it with Beatrice first. Come along at once." R!"`Po  
"Eh, but hadn't you better arrange that part of the business privately?" z7P~SM  
;v.J D7  
"No, no. She always snubs me when I try to speak to her alone. You had better be there, and Miss Elizabeth too, if she likes. I won't speak to her again alone. I will speak to her in the face of God and man, as God directed me to do, and then it will be all right--I know it will." hl)jE 06  
Mr. Granger stared at him. He was a clergyman of a very practical sort, and did not quite see what the Power above had to do with Owen Davies's matrimonial intentions. bB*cd!7y  
"Ah, well," he said, "I see what you mean; marriages are made in heaven; yes, of course. Well, if you want to get on with the matter, I daresay that we shall find Beatrice in." B=}QgXg  
<R_)[{ 7  
So they walked back to the Vicarage, Mr. Granger exultant and yet perplexed, for it struck him that there was something a little odd about the proceeding, and Owen Davies in silence or muttering occasionally to himself. j|XL$Q  
In the sitting-room they found Elizabeth. \H1t<B,  
b8Hz l!zO  
"Where is Beatrice?" asked her father. ,v?FR }v  
"I don't know," she answered, and at that moment Beatrice, pale and troubled, walked into the room, like a lamb to the slaughter. Oh,Xjel  
"Ah, Beatrice," said her father, "we were just asking for you." ih |&q  
She glanced round, and with the quick wit of a human animal, instantly perceived that some new danger threatened her. J<&?Hb*|  
"Indeed," she said, sinking into a chair in an access of feebleness born of fear. "What is it, father?" w*u.z(:a`  
Mr. Granger looked at Owen Davies and then took a step towards the door. It struck him forcibly that this scene should be private to the two persons principally concerned. w|-m*v .  
"Don't go," said Owen Davies excitedly, "don't go, either of you; what I have to say had better be said before you both. I should like to say it before the whole world; to cry it from the mountain tops." }{.V^;  
Elizabeth glared at him fiercely--glared first at him and then at the innocent Beatrice. Could he be going to propose to her, then? Ah, why had she hesitated? Why had she not told him the whole truth before? But the heart of Beatrice, who sat momentarily expecting to be publicly denounced, grew ever fainter. The waters of desolation were closing in over her soul. w{GEWD{&  
Mr. Granger sat down firmly and worked himself into the seat of his chair, as though to secure an additional fixedness of tenure. Elizabeth set her teeth, and leaned her elbow on the table, holding her hand so as to shade her face. Beatrice drooped upon her seat like a fading lily, or a prisoner in the dock. She was opposite to them, and Owen Davies, his face alight with wild enthusiasm, stood up and addressed them all like the counsel for the prosecution. C6:; T%  
|[ ,|S{  
"Last autumn," he began, speaking to Mr. Granger, who might have been a judge uncertain as to the merits of the case, "I asked your daughter Beatrice to marry me." *ioVLt,:R  
Beatrice gave a sigh, and collected her scattered energies. The storm had burst at last, and she must face it. L %[om c?  
`u%`N j  
"I asked her to marry me, and she told me to wait a year. I have waited as long as I could, but I could not wait the whole year. I have prayed a great deal, and I am bidden to speak." cO9aT  
Elizabeth made a gesture of impatience. She was a person of strong common sense, and this mixture of religion and eroticism disgusted her. She also know that the storm had burst, and that she must face it. <<>?`7N  
Jvt| q5  
"So I come to tell you that I love your daughter Beatrice, and want to make her my wife. I have never loved anybody else, but I have loved her for years; and I ask your consent." :|/bEP]p/  
"Very flattering, very flattering, I am sure, especially in these hard times," said Mr. Granger apologetically, shaking his thin hair down over his forehead, and then rumpling it up again. "But you see, Mr. Davies, you don't want to marry me" (here Beatrice smiled faintly)-- "you want to marry my daughter, so you had better ask her direct--at least I suppose so." nWpqAb  
Elizabeth made a movement as though to speak, then changed her mind and listened. ZBw]H'sT  
Z]~) ->=}  
"Beatrice," said Owen Davies, "you hear. I ask you to marry me." tbXl5x0  
There was a pause. Beatrice, who had sat quite silent, was gathering up her strength to answer. Elizabeth, watching her from beneath her hand, thought that she read upon her face irresolution, softening into consent. What she really saw was but doubt as to the fittest and most certain manner of refusal. Like lightning it flashed into Elizabeth's mind that she must strike now, or hold her hand for ever. If once Beatrice spoke that fatal "yes," her revelations might be of no avail. And Beatrice would speak it; she was sure she would. It was a golden road out of her troubles. =c$x xEDD  
"Stop!" said Elizabeth in a shrill, hard voice. "Stop! I must speak; it is my duty as a Christian. I must tell the truth. I cannot allow an honest man to be deceived." X am8h  
There was an awful pause. Beatrice broke it. Now she saw all the truth, and knew what was at hand. She placed her hand upon her heart to still its beating. 4G;KT~Cgb  
F/j ; q  
"Oh, Elizabeth," she said, "in our dead mother's name----" and she stopped. R-f('[u  
t hQ)J|1  
"Yes," answered her sister, "in our dead mother's name, which you have dishonoured, I will do it. Listen, Owen Davies, and father: Beatrice, who sits there"--and she pointed at her with her thin hand--"Beatrice is a scarlet woman!" Oxhc!9F  
"I really don't understand," gasped Mr. Granger, while Owen looked round wildly, and Beatrice sunk her head upon her breast. ># {,(8\  
"Then I will explain," said Elizabeth, still pointing at her sister. "She is Geoffrey Bingham's mistress. On the night of Whit-Sunday last she rose from bed and went into his room at one in the morning. I saw her with my own eyes. Afterwards she was brought back to her bed in his arms--I saw it with my own eyes, and I heard him kiss her." (This was a piece of embroidery on Elizabeth's part.) "She is his lover, and has been in love with him for months. I tell you this, Owen Davies, because, though I cannot bear to bring disgrace upon our name and to defile my lips with such a tale, neither can I bear that you should marry a girl, believing her to be good, when she is what Beatrice is." 2>l =oXq  
"Then I wish to God that you had held your wicked tongue," said Mr. Granger fiercely. \ a#{Y/j3  
"No, father. I have a duty to perform, and I will perform it at any cost, and however much it pains me. You know that what I say is true. You heard the noise on the night of Whit-Sunday, and got up to see what it was. You saw the white figure in the passage--it was Geoffrey Bingham with Beatrice in his arms. Ah! well may she hang her head. Let her deny if it she can. Let her deny that she loves him to her shame, and that she was alone in his room on that night." ~,Kx"VK  
Then Beatrice rose and spoke. She was pale as death and more beautiful in her shame and her despair than ever she had been before; her glorious eyes shone, and there were deep black lines beneath them. k)agbx  
"My heart is my own," she said, "and I will make no answer to you about it. Think what you will. For the rest, it is not true. I am not what Elizabeth tells you that I am. I am not Geoffrey Bingham's mistress. It is true that I was in his room that night, and it is true that he carried me back to my own. But it was in my sleep that I went there, not of my own free will. I awoke there, and fainted when I woke, and then at once he bore me back." u=sZFr@m[  
Elizabeth laughed shrill and loud--it sounded like the cackle of a fiend. rE&+fSBD  
"In her sleep," she said; "oh, she went there in her sleep!" xX'Uq_ Jv  
24N,Bo 3  
"Yes, Elizabeth, in my sleep. You do not believe me, but it is true. You do not wish to believe me. You wish to bring the sister whom you should love, who has never offended against you by act or word, to utter disgrace and ruin. In your cowardly spite you have written anonymous letters to Lady Honoria Bingham, to prevail upon her to strike the blow that should destroy her husband and myself, and when you fear that this has failed, you come forward and openly accuse us. You do this in the name of Christian duty; in the name of love and charity, you believe the worst, and seek to ruin us. Shame on you, Elizabeth! shame on you! and may the same measure that you have meted out to me never be paid back to you. We are no longer sisters. Whatever happens, I have done with you. Go your ways." Azle ;\l`  
Elizabeth shrank and quailed beneath her sister's scorn. Even her venomous hatred could not bear up against the flash of those royal eyes, and the majesty of that outraged innocence. She gasped and bit her lip till the blood started, but she said nothing. "!Oh#Vf  
Then Beatrice turned to her father, and spoke in another and a pleading voice, stretching out her arms towards him. KB%j! ?  
"Oh, father," she said, "at least tell me that you believe me. Though you may think that I might love to all extremes, surely, having known me so many years, you cannot think that I would lie even for my love's sake." u8 |@|t  
The old man looked wildly round, and shook his head. k;Hnu  
"In his room and in his arms," he said. "I saw it, it seems. You, too, who have never been known to walk in your sleep from a child; and you will not say that you do not love him--the scoundrel. It is wicked of Elizabeth--jealousy bitter as the grave. It is wicked of her to tell the tale; but as it is told, how can I say that I do not believe it?" y 'M#z_.z  
Then Beatrice, her cup being full, once more dropped her head, and turned to go. !4#"!Md4o  
"Stop," said Owen Davies in a hoarse voice, and speaking for the first time. "Hear what I have to say." 3oBC   
She lifted her eyes. "With you, Mr. Davies, I have nothing to do; I am not answerable to you. Go and help your accomplice," and she pointed to Elizabeth, "to cry this scandal over the whole world." flPZlL  
ZV0) ."^Z  
"Stop," he said again. "I will speak. I believe that it is true. I believe that you are Geoffrey Bingham's mistress, curse him! but I do not care. I am still willing to marry you." |L*6x S[  
Elizabeth gasped. Was this to be the end of her scheming? Would the blind passion of this madman prevail over her revelations, and Beatrice still become his rich and honoured wife, while she was left poor and disgraced? Oh, it was monstrous! Oh, she had never dreamed of this!" P7M0Ce~iW  
"Noble, noble!" murmured Mr. Granger; "noble! God bless you!" )|1JcnNSa  
So the position was not altogether beyond recovery. His erring daughter might still be splendidly married; he might still look forward to peace and wealth in his old age. MT0{hsuK9  
Only Beatrice smiled faintly. ATp  6-  
"I thank you," she said. "I am much honoured, but I could never have married you because I do not love you. You must understand me very little if you think that I should be the more ready to do so on account of the danger in which I stand," and she ceased. ^YG7dd_  
"Listen, Beatrice," Owen went on, an evil light shining on his heavy face, while Elizabeth sat astounded, scarcely able to believe her ears. "I want you, and I mean to marry you; you are more to me than all the world. I can give you everything, and you had better yield to me, and you shall hear no more of this. But if you won't, then this is what I will do. I will be revenged upon you--terribly revenged." t"<s}~  
Beatrice shook her head and smiled again, as though to bid him do his worst. .x!T+`l>8I  
"And look, Beatrice," he went on, waxing almost eloquent in his jealous despair, "I have another argument to urge on you. I will not only be revenged on you, I will be revenged upon your lover--on this Geoffrey Bingham." 27F~(!n  
Em 6Qe  
"Oh!" said Beatrice sharply, like one in pain. He had found the way to move her now, and with the cunning of semi-madness he drove the point home. ]?x: Qm'yo  
"Yes, you may start--I will. I tell you that I will never rest till I have ruined him, and I am rich and can do it. I have a hundred thousand pounds, that I will spend on doing it. I have nothing to fear, except an action for libel. Oh, I am not a fool, though you think I am, I know. Well, I can pay for a dozen actions. There are papers in London that will be glad to publish all this--yes, the whole story--with plans and pictures too. Just think, Beatrice, what it will be when all England--yes, and all the world--is gloating over your shame, and half-a-dozen prints are using the thing for party purposes, clamouring for the disgrace of the man who ruined you, and whom you will ruin. He has a fine career; it shall be utterly destroyed. By God! I will hunt him to his grave, unless you promise to marry me, Beatrice. Do that, and not a word of this shall be said. Now answer." Mi]L]-L  
Mr. Granger sank back in his chair; this savage play of human passions was altogether beyond his experience--it overwhelmed him. As for Elizabeth, she bit her thin fingers, and glared from one to the other. "He reckons without me," she thought. "He reckons without me--I will marry him yet." mljh|[  
But Beatrice leant for a moment against the wall and shut her eyes to think. Oh, she saw it all--the great posters with her name and Geoffrey's on them, the shameless pictures of her in his arms, the sickening details, the letters of the outraged matrons, the "Mothers of ten," and the moral-minded colonels--all, all! She heard the prurient scream of every male Elizabeth in England; the allusions in the House--the jeers, the bitter attacks of enemies and rivals. Then Lady Honoria would begin her suit, and it would all be dragged up afresh, and Geoffrey's fault would be on every lip, till he was ruined. For herself she did not care; but could she bring this on one whose only crime was that she had learned to love him? No, no; but neither could she marry this hateful man. And yet what escape was there? She flung herself upon her woman's wit, and it did not fail her. In a few seconds she had thought it all out and made up her mind. [JaS??ig  
"How can I answer you at a moment's notice, Mr. Davies?" she said. "I must have time to think it over. To threaten such revenge upon me is not manly, but I know that you love me, and therefore I excuse it. Still, I must have time. I am confused." %kU'hzLg  
6q%ed UED  
"What, another year? No, no," he said. "You must answer." wXcMt>3  
"I do not ask a year or a month. I only ask for one week. If you will not give me that, then I will defy you, and you may do your worst. I cannot answer now." \Oi5=,  
This was a bold stroke, but it told. Mr. Davies hesitated. ,/w852|ub  
"Give the girl a week," said her father to him. "She is not herself." i\z0{;f|GX  
o |.me G  
"Very well; one week, no more," said he. p_5+L@%Gb  
! `o =2b=N  
"I have another stipulation to make," said Beatrice, "You are all to swear to me that for that week no word of this will pass your mouths; that for that week I shall not be annoyed or interfered with, or spoken to on the subject, not by one of you. If at the end of it I still refuse to accept your terms, you can do your worst, but till then you must hold your hand." p AD@oPC  
7aS`S F  
Owen Davies hesitated; he was suspicious. xvU@,bzz  
"Remember," Beatrice went on, raising her voice, "I am a desperate woman. I may turn at bay, and do something which you do not expect, and that will be very little to the advantage of any of you. Do you swear?" IUZ@n0/T  
"Yes," said Owen Davies. p{0NKyOvU  
WXFC e@  
Then Beatrice looked at Elizabeth, and Elizabeth looked at her. She saw that the matter had taken a new form. She saw what her jealous folly had hitherto hidden from her--that Beatrice did not mean to marry Owen Davies, that she was merely gaining time to execute some purpose of her own. What this might be Elizabeth cared little so that it did not utterly extinguish chances that at the moment seemed faint enough. She did not want to push matters against her sister, or her lover Geoffrey, beyond the boundary of her own interests. Beatrice should have her week, and be free from all interference so far as she was concerned. She realised now that it was too late how great had been her error. Oh, if only she had sought Beatrice's confidence at first! But it had seemed to her impossible that she would really throw away such an opportunity in life. &Vbcwv@  
+Ec@qP R&  
"Certainly I promise, Beatrice," she said mildly. "I do not swear, for 'swear not at all,' you know. I only did what I thought my duty in warning Mr. Davies. If he chooses to go on with the matter, it is no affair of mine. I had no wish to hurt you, or Mr. Bingham. I acted solely from my religious convictions." d(;Qe}ok>  
z 2Rg`1B  
"Oh, stop talking religion, Elizabeth, and practise it a little more!" said her father, for once in his life stirred out of his feeble selfishness. "We have all undertaken to keep our mouths sealed for this week." heN?lmC  
Then Beatrice left the room, and after her went Owen Davies without another word. ;9"6g=q  
"Elizabeth," said her father, rising, "you are a wicked woman! What did you do this for?" wj 15Og?  
"Do you want to know, father?" she said coolly; "then I will tell you. Because I mean to marry Owen Davies myself. We must all look after ourselves in this world, you know; and that is a maxim which you never forget, for one. I mean to marry him; and though I seem to have failed, marry him I will, yet! And now you know all about it; and if you are not a fool, you will hold your tongue and let me be!" and she went also, leaving him alone. 5Zl7crA[  
Mr. Granger held up his hands in astonishment. He was a selfish, money-seeking old man, but he felt that he did not deserve to have such a daughter as this. OAtn.LU  

只看该作者 26楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXVI. What Beatrice Swore |ki#MtCp  
,*S?L qv^  
  Beatrice went to her room, but the atmosphere of the place seemed to stifle her. Her brain was reeling, she must go out into the air--away from her tormentors. She had not yet answered Geoffrey's letter, and it must be answered by this post, for there was none on Sunday. It was half-past four--the post went out at five; if she was going to write, she should do so at once, but she could not do so here. Besides, she must find time for thought. Ah, she had it; she would take her canoe and paddle across the bay to the little town of Coed and write her letter there. The post did not leave Coed till half-past six. She put on her hat and jacket, and taking a stamp, a sheet of paper, and an envelope with her, slipped quietly from the house down to old Edward's boat-house where the canoe was kept. Old Edward was not there himself, but his son was, a boy of fourteen, and by his help Beatrice was soon safely launched. The sea glittered like glass, and turning southwards, presently she was paddling round the shore of the island on which the Castle stood towards the open bay. tinN$o Xy  
As she paddled her mind cleared, and she was able to consider the position. It was bad enough. She saw no light, darkness hemmed her in. But at least she had a week before her, and meanwhile what should she write to Geoffrey? ~}ewna/2  
R [uo:.  
Then, as she thought, a great temptation assailed Beatrice, and for the first time her resolution wavered. Why should she not accept Geoffrey's offer and go away with him--far away from all this misery? Gladly would she give her life to spend one short year at his dear side. She had but to say the word, and he would take her to him, and in a month from now they would be together in some foreign land, counting the world well lost, as he had said. Doubtless in time Lady Honoria would get a divorce, and they might be married. A day might even come when all this would seem like a forgotten night of storm and fear; when, surrounded by the children of their love, they would wend peaceably, happily, through the evening of their days towards a bourne robbed of half its terrors by the fact that they would cross it hand- in-hand. {UPIdQ'g  
Oh, that would be well for her; but would it be well for him? When the first months of passion had passed by, would he not begin to think of all that he had thrown away for the sake of a woman's love? Would not the burst of shame and obloquy which would follow him to the remotest corners of the earth wear away his affection, till at last, as Lady Honoria said, he learned to curse and hate her. And if it did not--if he still loved her through it all--as, being what he was, he well might do--could she be the one to bring this ruin on him? Oh, it would have been more kind to let him drown on that night of the storm, when fate first brought them together to their undoing. g@EKJFjl  
hZJ Nh,,w  
No, no; once and for all, once and for ever, she would not do it. Cruel as was her strait, heavy as was her burden, not one feather's weight of it should he carry, if by any means in her poor power she could hold it from his back. She would not even tell him of what had happened--at any rate, not now. It would distress him; he might take some desperate step; it was almost certain that he would do so. Her answer must be very short. -0Q!:5EC  
She was quite close to Coed now, and the water lay calm as a pond. So calm was it that she drew the sheet of paper and the envelope from her pocket, and leaning forward, rested them on the arched covering of the canoe, and pencilled those words which we have already read. +GGj*sD  
+Q '|->#  
  "No, dear Geoffrey. Things must take their course.--B." qd.b&i  
Thus she wrote. Then she paddled to the shore. A fisherman standing on the beach caught her canoe and pulled it up. Leaving it in his charge, she went into the quaint little town, directed and posted her letter, and bought some wool. It was an excuse for having been there should any one ask questions. After that she returned to her canoe. The fisherman was standing by it. She offered him sixpence for his trouble, but he would not take it. &x;nP6mV  
"No, miss," he said, "thanking you kindly--but we don't often get a peep at such sweet looks. It's worth sixpence to see you, it is. But, miss, if I may make so bold as to say so, it isn't safe for you to cruise about in that craft, any ways not alone." )jH"6my_  
Beatrice thanked him and blushed a little. Vaguely it occurred to her that she must have more than a common share of beauty, when a rough man could be so impressed with it. That was what men loved women for, their beauty, as Owen Davies loved and desired her for this same cause and this only. 7?kvrIuY&  
Perhaps it was the same with Geoffrey--no, she did not believe it. He loved her for other things besides her looks. Only if she had not been beautiful, perhaps he would not have begun to love her, so she was thankful for her eyes and hair, and form. t%=ylEPW  
v[~ U*#i  
Could folly and infatuation go further? This woman in the darkest hour of her bottomless and unhorizoned despair, with conscience gnawing at her heart, with present misery pressing on her breast, and shame to come hanging over her like a thunder cloud, could yet feel thankful that she had won this barren love, the spring of all her woe. Or was her folly deep wisdom in disguise?--is there something divine in a passion that can so override and defy the worst agonies of life? |_2O:7qe  
She was at sea again now, and evening was falling on the waters softly as a dream. Well, the letter was posted. Would it be the last, she wondered? It seemed as though she must write no more letters. And what was to be done? She would not marry Owen Davies--never would she do it. She could not so shamelessly violate her feelings, for Beatrice was a woman to whom death would be preferable to dishonour, however legal. No, for her own sake she would not be soiled with that disgrace. Did she do this, she would hold herself the vilest of the vile. And still less would she do it for Geoffrey's sake. Her instinct told her what he would feel at such a thing, though he might never say a word. Surely he would loathe and despise her. No, that idea was done with--utterly done with. l%;)0gT  
Then what remained to her? She would not fly with Geoffrey, since to do so would be to ruin him. She would not marry Owen, and not to do so would still be to ruin Geoffrey. She was no fool, she was innocent in act, but she knew that her innocence would indeed be hard to prove-- even her own father did not believe in it, and her sister would openly accuse her to the world. What then should she do? Should she hide herself in some remote half-civilised place, or in London? It was impossible; she had no money, and no means of getting any. Besides, they would hunt her out, both Owen Davies and Geoffrey would track her to the furthest limits of the earth. And would not the former think that Geoffrey had spirited her away, and at once put his threats into execution? Obviously he would. There was no hope in that direction. Some other plan must be found or her lover would still be ruined. ,TP^i 0  
So argued Beatrice, still thinking not of herself, but of Geoffrey, of that beloved one who was more to her than all the world, more, a thousand times, than her own safety or well-being. Perhaps she overrated the matter. Owen Davies, Lady Honoria, and even Elizabeth might have done all they threatened; the first of them, perhaps the first two of them, certainly would have done so. But still Geoffrey might have escaped destruction. Public opinion, or the sounder part of it, is sensibly enough hard to move in such a matter, especially when the person said to have been wronged is heart and soul on the side of him who is said to have wronged her. v-&^G3  
Moreover there might have been ways out of it, of which she knew nothing. But surrounded as she was by threatening powers--by Lady Honoria threatening actions in the Courts on one side, by Owen Davies threatening exposure on another, by Elizabeth ready and willing to give the most damning evidence on the third, to Beatrice the worst consequences seemed an absolutely necessary sequence. Then there was her own conscience arrayed against her. This particular charge was a lie, but it was not a lie that she loved Geoffrey, and to her the two things seemed very much the same thing. Hers was not a mind to draw fine distinctions in such matters. Se posuit ut culpabilem: she "placed herself as guilty," as the old Court rolls put it in miserable Latin, and this sense of guilt disarmed her. She did not realise the enormous difference recognised by the whole civilised world between thought and act, between disposing mind and inculpating deed. Beatrice looked at the question more from the scriptural point of view, remembering that in the Bible such fine divisions are expressly stated to be distinctions without a difference. '2v,!G]^  
l% K9Ke  
Had she gone to Geoffrey and told him her whole story it is probable that he would have defied the conspiracy, faced it out, and possibly come off victorious. But, with that deadly reticence of which women alone are capable, this she did not and would not do. Sweet loving woman that she was, she would not burden him with her sorrows, she would bear them alone--little reckoning that thereby she was laying up a far, far heavier load for him to carry through all his days. {Km|SG[-q  
So Beatrice accepted the statements of the plaintiff's attorney for gospel truth, and from that false standpoint she drew her auguries. _n Oio?  
L)HuQVc g  
Oh, she was weary! How lovely was the falling night, see how it brooded on the seas! and how clear were the waters--there a fish passed by her paddle--and there the first start sprang into the sky! If only Geoffrey were here to see it with her. Geoffrey! she had lost him; she was alone in the world now--alone with the sea and the stars. Well, they were better than men--better than all men except one. Theirs was a divine companionship, and it soothed her. Ah, how hateful had been Elizabeth's face, more hateful even than the half-crazed cunning of Owen Davies, when she stretched her hand towards her and called her "a scarlet woman." It was so like Elizabeth, this mixing up of Bible terms with her accusation. And after all perhaps it was true. --What was it, "Though thy sins be as scarlet, yet shall they be white as snow." But that was only if one repented. She did not repent, not in the least. Conscience, it is true, reproached her with a breach of temporal and human law, but her heart cried that such love as she had given was immortal and divine, and therefore set beyond the little bounds of time and man. At any rate, she loved Geoffrey and was proud and glad to love him. The circumstances were unfortunate, but she did not make the world or its social arrangements any more than she had made herself, and she could not help that. The fact remained, right or wrong--she loved him, loved him! RR*z3i`PP  
How clear were the waters! What was that wild dream which she had dreamt about herself sitting at the bottom of the sea, and waiting for him--till at last he came. Sitting at the bottom of the sea--why did it strike her so strangely--what unfamiliar thought did it waken in her mind? Well, and why not? It would be pleasant there, better at any rate than on the earth. But things cannot be ended so; one is burdened with the flesh, and one must wear it till it fails. Why must she wear it? Was not the sea large enough to hide her bones? Look now, she had but to slip over the edge of the canoe, slip without a struggle into those mighty arms, and in a few short minutes it would all be done and gone! D9 ,~Fc  
She gasped as the thought struck home. Here was the answer to her questionings, the same answer that is given to every human troubling, to all earthly hopes and fears and strivings. One stroke of that black knife and everything would be lost or found. Would it be so great a thing to give her life for Geoffrey?--why she had well nigh done as much when she had known him but an hour, and now that he was all in all, oh, would it be so great a thing? If she died--died secretly, swiftly, surely--Geoffrey would be saved; they would not trouble him then, there would be no one to trouble about: Owen Davies could not marry her then, Geoffrey could not ruin himself over her, Elizabeth could pursue her no further. It would be well to do this thing for Geoffrey, and he would always love her, and beyond that black curtain there might be something better. dHg[0Br)r  
They said that it was sin. Yes, it might be sin to act thus for oneself alone. But to do it for another--how of that! Was not the Saviour whom they preached a Man of Sacrifice? Would it be a sin in her to die for Geoffrey, to sacrifice herself that Geoffrey might go free? j1_CA5V  
^R! qxSj  
Oh, it would be no great merit. Her life was not so easy that she should fear this pure embrace. It would be better, far better, than to marry Owen Davies, than to desecrate their love and teach Geoffrey to despise her. And how else could she ward this trouble from him except by her death, or by a marriage that in her eyes was more dreadful than any death? OT+=H)/  
She could not do it yet. She could not die until she had once more seen his face, even though he did not see hers. No, not to-night would she seek this swift solution. She had words to say--or words to write --before the end. Already they rushed in upon her mind! K`{P/w  
But if no better plan presented itself she would do it, she was sure that she would. It was a sin--well, let it be a sin; what did she care if she sinned for Geoffrey? He would not think the worse of her for it. And she had hope, yes, Geoffrey had taught her to hope. If there was a Hell, why it was here. And yet not all a Hell, for in it she had found her love! >HNBTc=~t  
h K;9XJAf  
It grew dark; she could hear the whisper of the waves upon Bryngelly beach. It grew dark; the night was closing round. She paddled to within a few fathoms of the shore, and called in her clear voice. [x{z}rYH  
4 .Kl/b;  
"Ay, ay, miss," answered old Edward from the beach. "Come in on the next wave." A1Ru&fd!  
E] 6]c!2:  
She came in accordingly and her canoe was caught and dragged high and dry. 0Q7|2{  
\@[Y ~:  
"What, Miss Beatrice," said the old man shaking his head and grumbling, "at it again! Out all alone in that thing," and he gave the canoe a contemptuous kick, "and in the dark, too. You want a husband to look after you, you do. You'll never rest till you're drowned." ;il+C!6zpf  
:q c?FQ ;  
"No, Edward," she answered with a little laugh. "I don't suppose that I shall. There is no peace for the wicked above seas, you know. Now do not scold. The canoe is as safe as church in this weather and in the bay." 7g5Pc_  
i[4!% FxB  
"Oh, yes, it's safe enough in the calm and the bay," he answered, "but supposing it should come on to blow and supposing you should drift beyond the shelter of Rumball Point there, and get the rollers down on you--why you would be drowned in five minutes. It's wicked, miss, that's what it is." p1[|5r5Day  
Beatrice laughed again and went. [0 rH/{  
"She's a funny one she is," said the old man scratching his head as he looked after her, "of all the woman folk as ever I knowed she is the rummest. I sometimes thinks she wants to get drowned. Dash me if I haven't half a mind to stave a hole in the bottom of that there damned canoe, and finish it." SmRFxqtN  
Beatrice reached home a little before supper time. Her first act was to call Betty the servant and with her assistance to shift her bed and things into the spare room. With Elizabeth she would have nothing more to do. They had slept together since they were children, now she had done with her. Then she went in to supper, and sat through it like a statue, speaking no word. Her father and Elizabeth kept up a strained conversation, but they did not speak to her, nor she to them. Elizabeth did not even ask where she had been, nor take any notice of her change of room. t?b@l<, s  
One thing, however, Beatrice learnt. Her father was going on the Monday to Hereford by an early train to attend a meeting of clergymen collected to discuss the tithe question. He was to return by the last train on the Tuesday night, that is, about midnight. Beatrice now discovered that Elizabeth proposed to accompany him. Evidently she wished to see as little as possible of her sister during this week of truce--possibly she was a little afraid of her. Even Elizabeth might have a conscience. 8A/rkoht*  
So she should be left alone from Monday morning till Tuesday night. One can do a good deal in forty hours. 7 9k+R9m  
V^>< =DNE  
After supper Beatrice rose and left the room, without a word, and they were glad when she went. She frightened them with her set face and great calm eyes. But neither spoke to the other on the subject. They had entered into a conspiracy of silence. Um*&S.y  
Beatrice locked her door and then sat at the window lost in thought. When once the idea of suicide has entered the mind it is apt to grow with startling rapidity. She reviewed the whole position; she went over all the arguments and searched the moral horizon for some feasible avenue of escape. But she could find none that would save Geoffrey, except this. Yes, she would do it, as many another wretched woman had done before her, not from cowardice indeed, for had she alone been concerned she would have faced the thing out, fighting to the bitter end--but for this reason only, it would cut off the dangers which threatened Geoffrey at their very root and source. Of course there must be no scandal; it must never be known that she had killed herself, or she might defeat her own object, for the story would be raked up. But she well knew how to avoid such a possibility; in her extremity Beatrice grew cunning as a fox. Yes, and there might be an inquest at which awkward questions would be asked. But, as she well knew also, before an inquest can be held there must be something to hold it on, and that something would not be there. O.8k [Ht  
And so in the utter silence of the night and in the loneliness of her chamber did Beatrice dedicate herself to sacrifice upon the altar of her immeasurable love. She would face the last agonies of death when the bloom of her youthful strength and beauty was but opening as a rose in June. She would do more, she would brave the threatened vengeance of the most High, coming before Him a self murderess, and with but one plea for pity--that she loved so well: quia multum amavit. Yes, she would do all this, would leave the warm world in the dawning summer of her days, and alone go out into the dark--alone would face those visions which might come--those Shapes of terror, and those Things of fear, that perchance may wait for sinful human kind. Alone she would go--oh, hand in hand with him it had been easy, but this must not be. The door of utter darkness would swing to behind her, and who could say if in time to come it should open to Geoffrey's following feet, or if he might ever find the path that she had trod. It must be done, it should be done! Beatrice rose from her seat with bright eyes and quick-coming breath, and swore before God, if God there were, that she would do it, trusting to Him for pardon and for pity, or failing these--for sleep. 2@I0p\a  
Yes, but first she must once more look upon Geoffrey's dear face--and then farewell! sa"}9IE*8  
Pity her! poor mistaken woman, making of her will a Providence, rushing to doom. Pity her, but do not blame her overmuch, or if you do, then blame Judith and Jephtha's daughter and Charlotte Corday, and all the glorious women who from time to time have risen on this sordid world of self, and given themselves as an offering upon the altars of their love, their religion, their honour or their country! sz%_9;`dpL  
It was finished. Now let her rest while she could, seeing what was to come. With a sigh for all that was, and all that might have been, Beatrice lay down and soon slept sweetly as a child. Rd|8=`)  

只看该作者 27楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXVII. The House of Commons   }K?b2 6`  
Next day was Sunday. Beatrice did not go to church. For one thing, she feared to see Owen Davies there. But she took her Sunday school class as usual, and long did the children remember how kind and patient she was with them that day, and how beautifully she told them the story of the Jewish girl of long ago, who went forth to die for the sake of her father's oath. I=dn]}b#P  
Nearly all the rest of the day and evening she spent in writing that which we shall read in time--only in the late afternoon she went out for a little while in her canoe. Another thing Beatrice did also: she called at the lodging of her assistant, the head school teacher, and told her it was possible that she would not be in her place on the Tuesday (Monday was, as it chanced, a holiday). If anybody inquired as to her absence, perhaps she would kindly tell them that Miss Granger had an appointment to keep, and had taken a morning's holiday in order to do so. She should, however, be back that afternoon. The teacher assented without suspicion, remarking that if Beatrice could not take a morning's holiday, she was sure she did not know who could. [_jw8`  
Next morning they breakfasted very early, because Mr. Granger and Elizabeth had to catch the train. Beatrice sat through the meal in silence, her calm eyes looking straight before her, and the others, gazing on them, and at the lovely inscrutable face, felt an indefinable fear creep into their hearts. What did this woman mean to do? That was the question they asked of themselves, though not of each other. That she meant to do something they were sure, for there was purpose written on every line of her cold face. m8PS84."]M  
Suddenly, as they sat thinking, and making pretence to eat, a thought flashed like an arrow into Beatrice's heart, and pierced it. This was the last meal that they could ever take together, this was the last time that she could ever see her father's and her sister's faces. For her sister, well, it might pass--for there are some things which even a woman like Beatrice can never quite forgive--but she loved her father. She loved his very faults, even his simple avarice and self- seeking had become endeared to her by long and wondering contemplation. Besides, he was her father; he gave her the life she was about to cast away. And she should never see him more. Not on that account did she hesitate in her purpose, which was now set in her mind, like Bryngelly Castle on its rock, but at the thought tears rushed unbidden to her eyes. +kd1q  
Just then breakfast came to an end, and Elizabeth hurried from the room to fetch her bonnet. 'I/_vqp@  
"Father," said Beatrice, "if you can before you go, I should like to hear you say that you do not believe that I told you what was false-- about that story." HuTtp|zM>  
"Eh, eh!" answered the old man nervously, "I thought that we had agreed to say nothing about the matter at present."  '?9zL*  
"Yes, but I should like to hear you say it, father. It cuts me that you should think that I would lie to you, for in my life I have never wilfully told you what was not true;" and she clasped her hands about his arms, and looked into his face. 3^y(@XFt  
)Zr9 `3[  
He gazed at her doubtfully. Was it possible after all she was speaking the truth? No; it was not possible. &$ h~Q  
"I can't, Beatrice," he said--"not that I blame you overmuch for trying to defend yourself; a cornered rat will show fight." ~K;QdV=YX  
"May you never regret those words," she said; "and now good-bye," and she kissed him on the forehead. $]2)r[eA)  
At this moment Elizabeth entered, saying that it was time to start, and he did not return the kiss. Ha'[uEDb  
"Good-bye, Elizabeth," said Beatrice, stretching out her hand. But Elizabeth affected not to see it, and in another moment they were gone. She followed them to the gate and watched them till they vanished down the road. Then she returned, her heart strained almost to bursting. But she wept no tear. ~(5r+Z}*`  
Thus did Beatrice bid a last farewell to her father and her sister. f)I5=Ijy(  
)U^=`* 7  
"Elizabeth," said Mr. Granger, as they drew near to the station, "I am not easy in my thoughts about Beatrice. There was such a strange look in her eyes; it--in short, it frightens me. I have half a mind to give up Hereford, and go back," and he stopped upon the road, hesitating. _0/unJl`  
"As you like," said Elizabeth with a sneer, "but I should think that Beatrice is big enough and bad enough to look after herself." d)%WaM%V  
"Before the God who made us," said the old man furiously, and striking the ground with his stick, "she may be bad, but she is not so bad as you who betrayed her. If Beatrice is a Magdalene, you are a woman Judas; and I believe that you hate her, and would be glad to see her dead." %m&6'Rpfk  
Elizabeth made no answer. They were nearing the station, for her father had started on again, and there were people about. But she looked at him, and he never forgot the look. It was quite enough to chill him into silence, nor did he allude to the matter any more. XkI'm\W  
When they were gone, Beatrice set about her own preparations. Her wild purpose was to travel to London, and catch a glimpse of Geoffrey's face in the House of Commons, if possible, and then return. She put on her bonnet and best dress; the latter was very plainly made of simple grey cloth, but on her it looked well enough, and in the breast of it she thrust the letter which she had written on the previous day. A small hand-bag, with some sandwiches and a brush and comb in it, and a cloak, made up the total of her baggage. St5;X&Q  
@i ~A7L0/  
The train, which did not stop at Bryngelly, left Coed at ten, and Coed was an hour and a half's walk. She must be starting. Of course, she would have to be absent for the night, and she was sorely puzzled how to account for her absence to Betty, the servant girl; the others being gone there was no need to do so to anybody else. But here fortune befriended her. While she was thinking the matter over, who should come in but Betty herself, crying. She had just heard, she said, that her little sister, who lived with their mother at a village about ten miles away, had been knocked down by a cart and badly hurt. Might she go home for the night? She could come back on the morrow, and Miss Beatrice could get somebody in to sleep if she was lonesome. h$5[04.Q  
q7 PCMe  
Beatrice sympathised, demurred, and consented, and Betty started at once. As soon as she was gone, Beatrice locked up the house, put the key in her pocket, and started on her five miles' tramp. Nobody saw her leave the house, and she passed by a path at the back of the village, so that nobody saw her on the road. Reaching Coed Station quite unobserved, and just before the train was due, she let down her veil, and took a third-class ticket to London. This she was obliged to do, for her stock of money was very small; it amounted, altogether, to thirty-six shillings, of which the fare to London and back would cost her twenty-eight and fourpence. oU|G74e6  
In another minute she had entered an empty carriage, and the train had steamed away. !<M eWo  
C6)Y ZC  
She reached Paddington about eight that night, and going to the refreshment room, dined on some tea and bread and butter. Then she washed her hands, brushed her hair, and started. yX!u&  
Beatrice had never been in London before, and as soon as she left the station the rush and roar of the huge city took hold of her, and confused her. Her idea was to walk to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. She would, she thought, be sure to see Geoffrey there, because she had bought a daily paper in which she had read that he was to be one of the speakers in a great debate on the Irish Question, which was to be brought to a close that night. She had been told by a friendly porter to follow Praed Street till she reached the Edgware Road, then to walk on to the Marble Arch, and ask again. Beatrice followed the first part of this programme--that is, she walked as far as the Edgware Road. Then it was that confusion seized her and she stood hesitating. At this juncture, a coarse brute of a man came up and made some remark to her. It was impossible for a woman like Beatrice to walk alone in the streets of London at night, without running the risk of such attentions. She turned from him, and as she did so, heard him say something about her beauty to a fellow Arcadian. Close to where she was stood two hansom cabs. She went to the first and asked the driver for how much he would take her to the House of Commons. =d8Rij-  
"Two bob, miss," he answered. g !^N#o  
Beatrice shook her head, and turned to go again. She was afraid to spend so much on cabs, for she must get back to Bryngelly. /D"T\KNWr  
"5eD >!  
"I'll take yer for eighteenpence, miss," called out the other driver. This offer she was about to accept when the first man interposed. Mzg3i*  
"You leave my fare alone, will yer? Tell yer what, miss, I'm a gentleman, I am, and I'll take yer for a bob." Nj6Np^@sH  
She smiled and entered the cab. Then came a whirl of great gas-lit thoroughfares, and in a quarter of an hour they pulled up at the entrance to the House. Beatrice paid the cabman his shilling, thanked him, and entered, only once more to find herself confused with a vision of white statues, marble floors, high arching roofs, and hurrying people. An automatic policeman asked her what she wanted. Beatrice answered that she wished to get into the House. 7; }TNK\+v  
"Pass this way, then, miss--pass this way," said the automatic officer in a voice of brass. She passed, and passed, and finally found herself in a lobby, among a crowd of people of all sorts--seedy political touts, Irish priests and hurrying press-men. At one side of the lobby were more policemen and messengers, who were continually taking cards into the House, then returning and calling out names. Insensibly she drifted towards these policemen. ZoC?9=k  
"Ladies' Gallery, miss?" said a voice; "your order, please, though I think it's full." .r*b+rc;]  
Here was a fresh complication. Beatrice had no order. She had no idea that one was necessary. q(p0#Mk,E  
"I haven't got an order," she said faintly. "I did not know that I must have one. Can I not get in without?" GDB>!ukg  
"Most certainly not, miss," answered the voice, while its owner, suspecting dynamite, surveyed her with a cold official eye. "Now make way, make way, please." xH[yIfHkG@  
Beatrice's grey eyes filled with tears, as she turned to go in bitterness of heart. So all her labour was in vain, and that which would be done must be done without the mute farewell she sought. Well, when sorrow was so much, what mattered a little more? She turned to go, but not unobserved. A certain rather youthful Member of Parliament, with an eye for beauty in distress, had been standing close to her, talking to a constituent. The constituent had departed to wherever constituents go--and many representatives, if asked, would cheerfully point out a locality suitable to the genus, at least in their judgment--and the member had overheard the conversation and seen Beatrice's eyes fill with tears. "What a lovely woman!" he had said to himself, and then did what he should have done, namely, lifted his hat and inquired if, as a member of the House, he could be of any service to her. Beatrice listened, and explained that she was particularly anxious to get into the Ladies' Gallery. u/c3omY"#  
"I think that I can help you, then," he said. "As it happens a lady, for whom I got an order, has telegraphed to say that she cannot come. Will you follow me? Might I ask you to give me your name?" /8t+d.r;/  
E+ 3yN\X(  
"Mrs. Everston," answered Beatrice, taking the first that came into her head. The member looked a little disappointed. He had vaguely hoped that this lovely creature was unappropriated. Surely her marriage could not be satisfactory, or she would not look so sad. 1~5q:X  
Then came more stairs and passages, and formalities, till presently Beatrice found herself in a kind of bird-cage, crowded to suffocation with every sort of lady. e@:P2(WW l  
"I'm afraid--I am very much afraid----" began her new-found friend, surveying the mass with dismay. 1c)\  
But at that moment, a stout lady in front feeling faint with the heat, was forced to leave the Gallery, and almost before she knew where she was, Beatrice was installed in her place. Her friend had bowed and vanished, and she was left to all purposes alone, for she never heeded those about her, though some of them looked at her hard enough, wondering at her form and beauty, and who she might be. 8pYyG |\  
RVc)") hQj  
She cast her eye down over the crowded House, and saw a vision of hats, collars, and legs, and heard a tumult of sounds: the sharp voice of a speaker who was rapidly losing his temper, the plaudits of the Government benches, the interruptions from the Opposition--yes, even yells, and hoots, and noises, that reminded her remotely of the crowing of cocks. Possibly had she thought of it, Beatrice would not have been greatly impressed with the dignity of an assembly, at the doors of which so many of its members seemed to leave their manners, with their overcoats and sticks; it might even have suggested the idea of a bear garden to her mind. But she simply did not think about it. She searched the House keenly enough, but it was to find one face, and one only--Ah! there he was. KHvIN}V5?3  
,# ]+HS^B  
And now the House of Commons might vanish into the bottomless abyss, and take with it the House of Lords, and what remained of the British Constitution, and she would never miss them. For, at the best of times, Beatrice--in common with most of her sex--in all gratitude be it said, was not an ardent politician. cI5N"U@yN  
There Geoffrey sat, his arms folded--the hat pushed slightly from his forehead, so that she could see his face. There was her own beloved, whom she had come so far to see, and whom to-morrow she would dare so much to save. How sad he looked--he did not seem to be paying much attention to what was going on. She knew well enough that he was thinking of her; she could feel it in her head as she had often felt it before. But she dared not let her mind go out to him in answer, for, if once she did so, she knew also that he would discover her. So she sat, and fed her eyes upon his face, taking her farewell of it, while round her, and beneath her, the hum of the House went on, as ever present and as unnoticed as the hum of bees upon a summer noon. e^zHw^js  
Presently the gentleman who had been so kind to her, sat down in the next seat to Geoffrey, and began to whisper to him, as he did so glancing once or twice towards the grating behind which she was. She guessed that he was telling him the story of the lady who was so unaccountably anxious to hear the debate, and how pretty she was. But it did not seem to interest Geoffrey much, and Beatrice was feminine enough to notice it, and to be glad of it. In her gentle jealousy, she did not like to think of Geoffrey as being interested in accounts of mysterious ladies, however pretty. wG8 nw;  
At length a speaker rose--she understood from the murmur of those around her that he was one of the leaders of the Opposition, and commenced a powerful and bitter speech. She noticed that Geoffrey roused himself at this point, and began to listen with attention. x+7*ADKb  
"Look," said one of the ladies near her, "Mr. Bingham is taking notes. He is going to speak next--he speaks wonderfully, you know. They say that he is as good as anybody in the House, except Gladstone, and Lord Randolph." tC)6  
"Oh!" answered another lady. "Lady Honoria is not here, is she? I don't see her." #b)e4vwCq  
"No," replied the first; "she is a dear creature, and so handsome too --just the wife for a rising man--but I don't think that she takes much interest in politics. Are not her dinners charming?" UKBJ_r  
At this moment, a volley of applause from the Opposition benches drowned the murmured conversation. QG gF|c7  
This speaker spoke for about three-quarters of an hour, and then at last Geoffrey stood up. One or two other members rose at the same time, but ultimately they gave way. aptY6lGv-|  
J;Rv ~<7  
He began slowly--and somewhat tamely, as it seemed to Beatrice, whose heart was in her mouth--but when he had been speaking for about five minutes, he warmed up. And then began one of the most remarkable oratorical displays of that Parliament. Geoffrey had spoken well before, and would speak well again, but perhaps he never spoke so well as he did upon that night. For nearly an hour and a half he held the House in chains, even the hoots and interruptions died away towards the end of his oration. His powerful presence seemed to tower in the place, like that of a giant among pigmies, and his dark, handsome face, lit with the fires of eloquence, shone like a lamp. He leaned forward with a slight stoop of his broad shoulders, and addressed himself, nominally to the Speaker, but really to the Opposition. He took their facts one by one, and with convincing logic showed that they were no facts; amid a hiss of anger he pulverised their arguments and demonstrated their motives. Then suddenly he dropped them altogether, and addressing himself to the House at large, and the country beyond the House, he struck another note, and broke out into that storm of patriotic eloquence which confirmed his growing reputation, both in Parliament and in the constituencies. 5N$E()m$  
q6#<[ 4?  
Beatrice shut her eyes and listened to the deep, rich voice as it rose from height to height and power to power, till the whole place seemed full of it, and every contending sound was hushed. +>^7vq-\'  
: 9!%ZD  
Suddenly, after an invocation that would have been passionate had it not been so restrained and strong, he stopped. She opened her eyes and looked. Geoffrey was seated as before, with his hat on. He had been speaking for an hour and a half, and yet, to her, it seemed but a few minutes since he rose. Then broke out a volley of cheers, in the midst of which a leader of the Opposition rose to reply, not in the very best of tempers, for Geoffrey's speech had hit them hard. 2RtHg_d_l  
He began, however, by complimenting the honourable member on his speech, "as fine a speech as he had listened to for many years, though, unfortunately, made from a mistaken standpoint and the wrong side of the House." Then he twitted the Government with not having secured the services of a man so infinitely abler than the majority of their "items," and excited a good deal of amusement by stating, with some sarcastic humour, that, should it ever be his lot to occupy the front Treasury bench, he should certainly make a certain proposal to the honourable member. After this good-natured badinage, he drifted off into the consideration of the question under discussion, and Beatrice paid no further attention to him, but occupied herself in watching Geoffrey drop back into the same apparent state of cold indifference, from which the necessity of action had aroused him. er.L7  
Presently the gentleman who had found her the seat came up and spoke to her, asking her how she was getting on. Very soon he began to speak of Geoffrey's speech, saying that it was one of the most brilliant of the session, if not the most brilliant. 'rP]Nw  
"Then Mr. Bingham is a rising man, I suppose?" Beatrice said. CE NVp"C/`  
"Rising? I should think so," he answered. "They will get him into the Government on the first opportunity after this; he's too good to neglect. Very few men can come to the fore like Mr. Bingham. We call him the comet, and if only he does not make a mess of his chances by doing something foolish, there is no reason why he should not be Attorney-General in a few years." 3cl9wWlJ_E  
"Why should he do anything foolish?" she asked. lB8il2&  
"Oh, for no reason on earth, that I know of; only, as I daresay you have noticed, men of this sort are very apt to do ridiculous things, throw up their career, get into a public scandal, run away with somebody or something. Not that there should be any fear of such a thing where Mr. Bingham is concerned, for he has a charming wife, and they say that she is a great help to him. Why, there is the division bell. Good-bye, Mrs. Everston, I will come back to see you out." qMBR *f  
"Good-bye," Beatrice answered, "and in case I should miss you, I wish to say something--to thank you for your kindness in helping me to get in here to-night. You have done me a great service, a very great service, and I am most grateful to you." m%+IPZ2m  
M_ 0zC1  
"It is nothing--nothing," he answered. "It has been a pleasure to help you. If," he added with some confusion, "you would allow me to call some day, the pleasure will be all the greater. I will bring Mr. Bingham with me, if you would like to know him--that is, if I can." +^aFs S  
Beatrice shook her head. "I cannot," she answered, smiling sadly. "I am going on a long journey to-morrow, and I shall not return here. Good-bye." 5cr(S~Q;  
In another second he was gone, more piqued and interested about this fair unknown than he had been about any woman for years. Who could she be? and why was she so anxious to hear the debate? There was a mystery in it somewhere, and he determined to solve it if he could. {U]H;~3 ?  
gXT9 r' k  
Meanwhile the division took place, and presently the members flocked back, and amidst ringing Ministerial cheers, and counter Opposition cheers, the victory of the Government was announced. Then came the usual formalities, and the members began to melt away. Beatrice saw the leader of the House and several members of the Government go up to Geoffrey, shake his hand, and congratulate him. Then, with one long look, she turned and went, leaving him in the moment of his triumph, that seemed to interest him so little, but which made Beatrice more proud at heart than if she had been declared empress of the world. qbrpP(.  
Oh, it was well to love a man like that, a man born to tower over his fellow men--and well to die for him! Could she let her miserable existence interfere with such a life as his should be? Never, never! There should be no "public scandal" on her account. R1&unm0  
at2FmBdu C  
She drew her veil over her face, and inquired the way from the House. Presently she was outside. By one of the gateways, and in the shadow of its pillars, she stopped, watching the members of the House stream past her. Many of them were talking together, and once or twice she caught the sound of Geoffrey's name, coupled with such words as "splendid speech," and other terms of admiration. L(GjZAP  
"Move on, move on," said a policeman to her. Lifting her veil, Beatrice turned and looked at him, and muttering something he moved on himself, leaving her in peace. Presently she saw Geoffrey and the gentleman who had been so kind to her walking along together. They came through the gateway; the lappet of his coat brushed her arm, and he never saw her. Closer she crouched against the pillar, hiding herself in its shadow. Within six feet of her Geoffrey stopped and lit a cigar. The light of the match flared upon his face, that dark, strong face she loved so well. How tired he looked. A great longing took possession of her to step forward and speak to him, but she restrained herself almost by force. r(gXoq_w  
Her friend was speaking to him, and about her. qP<Lr)nUH  
"Such a lovely woman," he was saying, "with the clearest and most beautiful grey eyes that I ever saw. But she has gone like a dream. I can't find her anywhere. It is a most mysterious business." j)q\9#sI/(  
"You are falling in love, Tom," answered Geoffrey absently, as he threw away the match and walked on. "Don't do that; it is an unhappy thing to do," and he sighed. zLJ/5&  
& j+oJasI  
He was going! Oh, heaven! she would never, never see him more! A cold horror seized upon Beatrice, her blood seemed to stagnate. She trembled so much that she could scarcely stand. Leaning forward, she looked after him, with such a face of woe that even the policeman, who had repented him of his forbearance, and was returning to send her away, stood astonished. The two men had gone about ten yards, when something induced Beatrice's friend to look back. His eye fell upon the white, agony-stricken face, now in the full glare of the gas lamp. u#@Q:tnN_  
)<Hd T  
Beatrice saw him turn, and understood her danger. "Oh, good-bye, Geoffrey!" she murmured, for a second allowing her heart to go forth towards him. Then realising what she had done, she dropped her veil, and went swiftly. The gentleman called "Tom"--she never learnt his name--stood for a moment dumbfounded, and at that instant Geoffrey staggered, as though he had been struck by a shot, turned quite white, and halted. ~Onoe $A[<  
"Why," said his companion, "there is that lady again; we must have passed quite close to her. She was looking after us, I saw her face in the gaslight--and I never want to see such another." DY?Kfvef  
Geoffrey seized him by the arm. "Where is she?" he asked, "and what was she like?" ~S7 D>D3S  
"She was there a second ago," he said, pointing to the pillar, "but I've lost her now--I fancy she went towards the railway station, but I could not see. Stop, is that she?" and he pointed to a tall person walking towards the Abbey. 8Y7Q+p|O  
Quickly they moved to intercept her, but the result was not satisfactory, and they retreated hastily from the object of their attentions. _0]S69lp  
Meanwhile Beatrice found herself opposite the entrance to the Westminster Bridge Station. A hansom was standing there; she got into it and told the man to drive to Paddington. GzI yP(U  
Before the pair had retraced their steps she was gone. "She has vanished again," said "Tom," and went on to give a description of her to Geoffrey. Of her dress he had unfortunately taken little note. It might be one of Beatrice's, or it might not. It seemed almost inconceivable to Geoffrey that she should be masquerading about London, under the name of Mrs. Everston. And yet--and yet--he could have sworn--but it was folly! zQ@I}K t  
Suddenly he bade his friend good-night, and took a hansom. "The mystery thickens," said the astonished "Tom," as he watched him drive away. "I would give a hundred pounds to find out what it all means. Oh! that woman's face--it haunts me. It looked like the face of an angel bidding farewell to Heaven." :km61  
But he never did find out any more about it, though the despairing eyes of Beatrice, as she bade her mute farewell, still sometimes haunt his sleep. sYe?M,  
4 Y ;Nm1 @  
Geoffrey reflected rapidly. The thing was ridiculous, and yet it was possible. Beyond that brief line in answer to his letter, he had heard nothing from Beatrice. Indeed he was waiting to hear from her before taking any further step. But even supposing she were in London, where was he to look for her? He knew that she had no money, he could not stay there long. It occurred to him there was a train leaving Euston for Wales about four in the morning. It was just possible that she might be in town, and returning by this train. He told the cabman to drive to Euston Station, and on arrival, closely questioned a sleepy porter, but without satisfactory results. q*\x0"mS/  
Then he searched the station; there were no traces of Beatrice. He did more; he sat down, weary as he was, and waited for an hour and a half, till it was time for the train to start. There were but three passengers, and none of them in the least resembled Beatrice. iVB86XZ`  
fb{`` ,nO  
"It is very strange," Geoffrey said to himself, as he walked away. "I could have sworn that I felt her presence just for one second. It must have been nonsense. This is what comes of occult influences, and that kind of thing. The occult is a nuisance." J@4Bf  
If he had only gone to Paddington! Z@3i$8  

只看该作者 28楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXVIII. I Will Wait for You NMjnL&P`  
Beatrice drove back to Paddington, and as she drove, though her face did not change from its marble cast of woe the great tears rolled down it, one by one. X^in};&d  
, ;'SVe%  
They reached the deserted-looking station, and she paid the man out of her few remaining shillings--seeing that she was a stranger, he insisted upon receiving half-a-crown. Then, disregarding the astonished stare of a night porter, she found her way to the waiting room, and sat down. First she took the letter from her breast, and added some lines to it in pencil, but she did not post it yet; she knew that if she did so it would reach its destination too soon. Then she laid her head back against the wall, and utterly outworn, dropped to sleep--her last sleep upon this earth, before the longest sleep of all. &9h  
And thus Beatrice waited and slept at Paddington, while her lover waited and watched at Euston. jrdtd6b}  
At five she woke, and the heavy cloud of sorrow, past, present, and to come, rushed in upon her heart. Taking her bag, she made herself as tidy as she could. Then she stepped outside the station into the deserted street, and finding a space between the houses, watched the sun rise over the waking world. It was her last sunrise, Beatrice remembered. *ig5Q(b*N  
She came back filled with such thoughts as might well strike the heart of a woman about to do the thing she had decreed. The refreshment bar was open now, and she went to it, and bought a cup of coffee and some bread and butter. Then she took her ticket, not to Bryngelly or to Coed, but to the station on this side of Bryngelly, and three miles from it. She would run less risk of being noticed there. The train was shunted up; she took her seat in it. Just as it was starting, an early newspaper boy came along, yawning. Beatrice bought a copy of the Standard, out of the one and threepence that was left of her money, and opened it at the sheet containing the leading articles. The first one began, "The most powerful, closely reasoned, and eloquent speech made last night by Mr. Bingham, the Member for Pillham, will, we feel certain, produce as great an effect on the country as it did in the House of Commons. We welcome it, not only on account of its value as a contribution to the polemics of the Irish Question, but as a positive proof of what has already been suspected, that the Unionist party has in Mr. Bingham a young statesman of a very high order indeed, and one whom remarkable and rapid success at the Bar has not hampered, as is too often the case, in the larger and less technical field of politics."  8APTk  
p3i qW,[@  
And so on. Beatrice put the paper down with a smile of triumph. Geoffrey's success was splendid and unquestioned. Nothing could stop him now. During all the long journey she pleased her imagination by conjuring up picture after picture of that great future of his, in which she would have no share. And yet he would not forget her; she was sure of this. Her shadow would go with him from year to year, even to the end, and at times he might think how proud she would have been could she be present to record his triumphs. Alas! she did not remember that when all is lost which can make life beautiful, when the sun has set, and the spirit gone out of the day, the poor garish lights of our little victories can but ill atone for the glories that have been. Happiness and content are frail plants which can only flourish under fair conditions if at all. Certainly they will not thrive beneath the gloom and shadow of a pall, and when the heart is dead no triumphs, however splendid, and no rewards, however great, can compensate for an utter and irredeemable loss. She never guessed, poor girl, that time upon time, in the decades to be, Geoffrey would gladly have laid his honours down in payment for one year of her dear and unforgotten presence. She was too unselfish; she did not think that a man could thus prize a woman's love, and took it for an axiom that to succeed in life was his one real object--a thing to which so divine a gift as she had given Geoffrey is as nothing. It was therefore this Juggernaut of her lover's career that Beatrice would cast down her life, little knowing that thereby she must turn the worldly and temporal success, which he already held so cheap, to bitterness and ashes. qM+!f2t  
At Chester Beatrice got out of the train and posted her letter to Geoffrey. She would not do so till then because it might have reached him too soon--before all was finished! Now it would be delivered to him in the House after everything had been accomplished in its order. She looked at the letter; it was, she thought, the last token that could ever pass between them on this earth. Once she pressed it to her heart, once she touched it with her lips, and then put it from her beyond recall. It was done; there was no going back now. And even as she stood the postman came up, whistling, and opening the box carelessly swept its contents into his canvas bag. Could he have known what lay among them he would have whistled no more that day. Ra*k  
Beatrice continued her journey, and by three o'clock arrived safely at the little station next to Bryngelly. There was a fair at Coed that day, and many people of the peasant class got in here. Amidst the confusion she gave up her ticket to a small boy, who was looking the other way at the time, and escaped without being noticed by a soul. Indeed, things happened so that nobody in the neighbourhood of Bryngelly ever knew that Beatrice had been to London and back upon those dreadful days. cnjj) c  
Beatrice walked along the cliff, and in an hour was at the door of the Vicarage, from which she seemed to have been away for years. She unlocked it and entered. In the letter-box was a post-card from her father stating that he and Elizabeth had changed their plans and would not be back till the train which arrived at half-past eight on the following morning. So much the better, she thought. Then she disarranged the clothes upon her bed to make it seem as though it had been slept it, lit the kitchen fire, and put the kettle on to boil, and as soon as it was ready she took some food. She wanted all her nerve, and that could not be kept up without food. (J) Rs`_  
Shortly after this the girl Betty returned, and went about her duties in the house quite unconscious that Beatrice had been away from it for the whole night. Her sister was much better, she said, in answer to Beatrice's inquiries. dvdBRrf  
When she had eaten what she could--it was not much--Beatrice went to her room, undressed herself, bathed, and put on clean, fresh things. Then she unbound her lovely hair, and did it up in a coronet upon her head. It was a fashion that she did not often adopt, because it took too much time, but on this day, of all days, she had a strange fancy to look her best. Also her hair had been done like this on the afternoon when Geoffrey first met her. Next she put on the grey dress once more which she had worn on her journey to London, and taking the silver Roman ring that Geoffrey had given her from the string by which she wore it about her neck, placed it on the third finger of her left hand. HG 6{`i  
#CP, \G  
All this being done, Beatrice visited the kitchen and ordered the supper. She went further in her innocent cunning. Betty asked her what she would like for breakfast on the following morning, and she told her to cook some bacon, and to be careful how she cut it, as she did not like thick bacon. Then, after one long last look at the Vicarage, she started for the lodging of the head teacher of the school, and, having found her, inquired as to the day's work. |]3);^0  
<RsKV$Je I  
Further, Beatrice told her assistant that she had determined to alter the course of certain lessons in the school. The Wednesday arithmetic class had hitherto been taken before the grammar class. On the morrow she had determined to change this; she would take the grammar class at ten and the arithmetic class at eleven, and gave her reasons for so doing. The teacher assented, and Beatrice shook hands with her and bade her good-night. She would have wished to say how much she felt indebted to her for her help in the school, but did not like to do so, fearing lest, in the light of pending events, the remark might be viewed with suspicion. <aD+Ki6  
G ~\$Oq8  
Poor Beatrice, these were the only lies she ever told! HWZ*Htr  
M#|xj <p  
She left the teacher's lodgings, and was about to go down to the beach and sit there till it was time, when she was met by the father of the crazed child, Jane Llewellyn. *i90[3l  
"Oh, Miss Beatrice," he said, "I have been looking for you everywhere. We are in sad trouble, miss. Poor Jane is in a raving fit, and talking about hell and that, and the doctor says she's dying. Can you come, miss, and see if you can do anything to quiet her? It's a matter of life and death, the doctor says, miss." s RB8 jY  
Beatrice smiled sadly; matters of life and death were in the air. "I will come," she said, "but I shall not be able to stay long." $vd._j&  
How could she better spend her last hour? H]-nm+  
She accompanied the man to his cottage. The child, dressed only in a night-shirt, was raving furiously, and evidently in the last stage of exhaustion, nor could the doctor or her mother do anything to quiet her. nV'B!q  
"Don't you see," she screamed, pointing to the wall, "there's the Devil waiting for me? And, oh, there's the mouth of hell where the minister said I should go! Oh, hold me, hold me, hold me!" c45Mv_  
Beatrice walked up to her, took the thin little hands in hers, and looked her fixedly in the eyes. tr):n@  
"Jane," she said. "Jane, don't you know me?" Y ||!V  
#~nI^ ggW  
"Yes, Miss Granger," she said, "I know the lesson; I will say it presently." >KC*xa"  
vBq 2JJAl  
Beatrice took her in her arms, and sat down on the bed. Quieter and quieter grew the child till suddenly an awful change passed over her face. ^hTq~"  
"She is dying," whispered the doctor. og!Uq]U/y  
"Hold me close, hold me close!" said the child, whose senses returned before the last eclipse. "Oh, Miss Granger, I shan't go to hell, shall I? I am afraid of hell." n\ZDI+X  
"No, love, no; you will go to heaven." LTm2B_+  
Jane lay still awhile. Then seeing the pale lips move, Beatrice put her ear to the child's mouth. l23_K7  
"Will you come with me?" she murmured; "I am afraid to go alone." kL 6f^MoL  
And Beatrice, her great grey eyes fixed steadily on the closing eyes beneath, whispered back so that no other soul could hear except the dying child: qcEiJ}-  
"Yes, I will come presently." But Jane heard and understood. t$^1A1Ef  
"Promise," said the child. E:/G!1  
"Yes, I promise," answered Beatrice in the same inaudible whisper. "Sleep, dear, sleep; I will join you very soon." AB<|iJC  
And the child looked up, shivered, smiled--and slept. C-!!1-Eq?:  
Beatrice gave it back to the weeping parents and went her way. "What a splendid creature," said the doctor to himself as he looked after her. "She has eyes like Fate, and the face of Motherhood Incarnate. A great woman, if ever I saw one, but different from other women." (iub\`  
Meanwhile Beatrice made her way to old Edward's boat-shed. As she expected, there was nobody there, and nobody on the beach. Old Edward and his son were at tea, with the rest of Bryngelly. They would come back after dark and lock up the boat-house. ~ *:{U   
She looked at the sea. There were no waves, but the breeze freshened every minute, and there was a long slow swell upon the water. The rollers would be running beyond the shelter of Rumball Point, five miles away. Hn~=O8/2  
The tide was high; it mounted to within ten yards of the end of the boat-house. She opened the door, and dragged out her canoe, closing the door again after her. The craft was light, and she was strong for a woman. Close to the boat-house one of the timber breakwaters, which are common at sea-side places, ran down into the water. She dragged the canoe to its side, and then pushed it down the beach till its bow was afloat. Next, mounting on the breakwater, she caught hold of the little chain in the bow, and walking along the timber baulks, pulled with all her force till the canoe was quite afloat. On she went, dragging it after her, till the waves washing over the breakwater wetted her shoes. 4J#F;#iA  
Z )Imj&;  
Then she brought the canoe quite close, and, watching her opportunity, stepped into it, nearly falling into the water as she did so. But she recovered her balance, and sat down. In another minute she was paddling out to sea with all her strength. j`fQN  
For twenty minutes or more she paddled unceasingly. Then she rested awhile, only keeping the canoe head on to the sea, which, without being rough, was running more and more freshly. There, some miles away, was the dark mass of Rumball Point. She must be off it before the night closed in. There would be sea enough there; no such craft as hers could live in it for five minutes, and the tide was on the turn. Anything sinking in those waters would be carried far away, and never come back to the shore of Wales. 6MewQ{hi  
She turned her head and looked at Bryngelly, and the long familiar stretch of cliff. How fair it seemed, bathed in the quiet lights of summer afternoon. Oh! was there any afternoon where the child had gone, and where she was following fast?--or was it all night, black, eternal night, unbroken by the dram of dear remembered things? _#dBcEH[  
There were the Dog Rocks, where she had stood on that misty autumn day, and seen the vision of her coffined mother's face. Surely it was a presage of her fate. There beyond was the Bell Rock, where in that same hour Geoffrey and she had met, and behind it was the Amphitheatre, where they had told their love. Hark! what was that sound pealing faintly at intervals across the deep? It was the great ship's bell that, stirred from time to time by the wash of the high tide, solemnly tolled her passing soul. Z!& u_  
She paddled on; the sound of that death-knell shook her nerves, and made her feel faint and weak. Oh, it would have been easier had she been as she was a year ago, before she learned to love, and hand in hand had seen faith and hope re-arise from the depths of her stirred soul. Then being but a heathen, she could have met her end with all a heathen's strength, knowing what she lost, and believing, too, that she would find but sleep. And now it was otherwise, for in her heart she did not believe that she was about utterly to perish. What, could the body live on in a thousand forms, changed indeed but indestructible and immortal, while the spiritual part, with all its hopes and loves and fears, melted into nothingness? It could not be; surely on some new shore she should once again greet her love. And if it was not, how would they meet her in that under world, coming self- murdered, her life-blood on her hands? Would her mother turn away from her? and the little brother, whom she had loved, would he reject her? And what Voice of Doom might strike her into everlasting hopelessness? %K[u  
N \t( rp  
But, be the sin what it might, yet would she sin it for the sake of Geoffrey; ay, even if she must reap a harvest of eternal woe. She bent her head and prayed. "Oh, Power, that art above, from whom I come, to whom I go, have mercy on me! Oh, Spirit, if indeed thy name is Love, weigh my love in thy balance, and let it lift the scale of sin. Oh, God of Sacrifice, be not wroth at my deed of sacrifice and give me pardon, give me life and peace, that in a time to come I may win the sight of him for whom I die." UJiy] y  
A somewhat heathenish prayer indeed, and far too full of human passion for one about to leave the human shores. But, then--well, it was Beatrice who prayed--Beatrice, who could realise no heaven beyond the limits of her passion, who still thought more of her love than of saving her own soul alive. Perhaps it found a home--perhaps, like her who prayed it, it was lost upon the pitiless deep. o/hj~;(]  
im@QJ :  
Then Beatrice prayed no more. Short was her time. See, there sank the sun in glory; and there the great rollers swept along past the sullen headland, where the undertow met wind and tide. She would think no more of self; it was, it seemed to her, so small, this mendicant calling on the Unseen, not for others, but for self: aid for self, well-being for self, salvation for self--this doing of good that good might come to self. She had made her prayer, and if she prayed again it should be for Geoffrey, that he might prosper and be happy--that he might forgive the trouble her love had brought into his life. That he might forget her she could not pray. She had prayed her prayer and said her say, and it was done with. Let her be judged as it seemed good to Those who judge! Now she would fix her thoughts upon her love, and by its strength would she triumph over the bitterness of death. Her eyes flashed and her breast heaved: further out to sea, further yet--she would meet those rollers a knot or more from the point of the headland, that no record might remain. f0{j/+F_o  
Was it her wrong if she loved him? She could not help it, and she was proud to love him. Even now, she would not undo the past. What were the lines that Geoffrey had read to her. They haunted her mind with a strange persistence--they took time to the beat of her falling paddle, and would not leave her: +g;{c+Kw:  
(+SL1O P  
  "Of once sown seed, who knoweth what the crop is? 4X!4S6JfB  
    Alas, my love, Love's eyes are very blind! {Us^ 4Xe  
    What would they have us do? Sunflowers and poppies )a5ON8?  
    Stoop to the wind----"[*] Mlr'h}:H  
[*] Oliver Madox Brown. =>Z4vWX*  
Yes, yes, Love's eyes are very blind, but in their blindness there was more light than in all other earthly things. Oh, she could not live for him, and with him--it was denied to her--but she still could die for him, her darling, her darling! =,W~^<\"  
$ &fm^1  
"Geoffrey, hear me--I die for you; accept my sacrifice, and forget me not." So!--she is in the rollers--how solemn they are with their hoary heads of foam, as one by one they move down upon her. '+{dr\nJ  
The first! it towers high, but the canoe rides it like a cork. Look! the day is dying on the distant land, but still his glory shines across the sea. Presently all will be finished. Here the breeze is strong; it tears the bonnet from her head, it unwinds the coronet of braided locks, and her bright hair streams out behind her. Feel how the spray stings, striking like a whip. No, not this wave, she rides that also; she will die as she has lived--fighting to the last; and once more, never faltering, she sets her face towards the rollers and consigns her soul to doom. {kJ[)7  
Ah! that struck her full. Oh, see! Geoffrey's ring has slipped from her wet hand, falling into the bottom of the boat. Can she regain it? she would die with that ring upon her finger--it is her marriage-ring, wedding her through death to Geoffrey, upon the altar of the sea. She stoops! oh, what a shock of water at her breast! What was it--what was it?--Of once sown seed, who knoweth what the crop is? She must soon learn now! 5g&'n  
"Geoffrey! hear me, Geoffrey!--I die, I die for you! I will wait for you at the foundations of the sea, on the topmost heights of heaven, in the lowest deeps of hell--wherever I am I will always wait for you!" PX'LN  
{UcIt LjY  
It sinks--it has sunk--she is alone with God, and the cruel waters. The sun goes out! Look on that great white wave seething through the deepening gloom; hear it rushing towards her, big with fate. ` l2q G#  
"Geoffrey, my darling--I will wait----" 0AK?{y U  
Farewell to Beatrice! The light went out of the sky and darkness gathered on the weltering sea. Farewell to Beatrice, and all her love and all her sin. BUsV|e\  
NnT g3:.  

只看该作者 29楼 发表于: 2012-07-17
Chapter XXIX. A Woman's Last Word f9$q.a*  
  Geoffrey came down to breakfast about eleven o'clock on the morning of that day the first hours of which he had spent at Euston Station. Not seeing Effie, he asked Lady Honoria where she was, and was informed that Anne, the French bonne, said the child was not well and that she had kept her in bed to breakfast. nI 6`/  
TC ^EyjD  
"Do you mean to say that you have not been up to see what is the matter with her?" asked Geoffrey. C4]vq+  
llXyM */  
"No, not yet," answered his wife. "I have had the dressmaker here with my new dress for the duchess's ball to-morrow; it's lovely, but I think that there is a little too much of that creamy lace about it." `KBgVhS>  
With an exclamation of impatience, Geoffrey rose and went upstairs. He found Effie tossing about in bed, her face flushed, her eyes wide open, and her little hands quite hot. W}+f}/&l  
"Send for the doctor at once," he said. ,KkENp_  
zfi{SO l  
The doctor came and examined the child, asking her if she had wet her feet lately. #B+2qD>E  
"Yes, I did, two days ago. I wet my feet in a puddle in the street," she answered. "But Anne did say that they would soon get dry, if I held them to the fire, because my other boots was not clean. Oh, my head does ache, daddie." [!aHP ?-  
"Ah," said the doctor, and then covering the child up, took Geoffrey aside and told him that his daughter had a mild attack of inflammation of the lungs. There was no cause for anxiety, only she must be looked after and guarded from chills. 6fQQKM@a|  
Mx4 <F "9  
Geoffrey asked if he should send for a trained nurse. ' 5`w5swbc  
"Oh, no," said the doctor. "I do not think it is necessary, at any rate at present. I will tell the nurse what to do, and doubtless your wife will keep an eye on her." cF V[k'F  
So Anne was called up, and vowed that she would guard the cherished child like the apple of her eye. Indeed, no, the boots were not wet-- there was a little, a very little mud on them, that was all. ; +1ooeU  
"Well, don't talk so much, but see that you attend to her properly," said Geoffrey, feeling rather doubtful, for he did not trust Anne. However, he thought he would see himself that there was no neglect. When she heard what was the matter, Lady Honoria was much put out. 4=`1C-v?q  
LaZ @4/z!  
"Really," she said, "children are the most vexatious creatures in the world. The idea of her getting inflammation of the lungs in this unprovoked fashion. The end of it will be that I shall not be able to go to the duchess's ball to-morrow night, and she was so kind about it, she made quite a point of my coming. Besides I have bought that lovely new dress on purpose. I should never have dreamed of going to so much expense for anything else." `d x.<R#,  
$n::w c  
"Don't trouble yourself," said Geoffrey. "The House does not sit to-morrow; I will look after her. Unless Effie dies in the interval, you will certainly be able to go to the ball." W JG8E7  
) 0|X];sD  
"Dies--what nonsense! The doctor says that it is a very slight attack. Why should she die?" < %{?Js  
"I am sure I hope that there is no fear of anything of the sort, Honoria. Only she must be properly looked after. I do not trust this woman Anne. I have half a mind to get in a trained nurse after all." WW-}c;cnK  
"Well, if you do, she will have to sleep out of the house, that's all. Amelia (Lady Garsington) is coming up to-night, and I must have somewhere to put her maid, and there is no room for another bed in Effie's room." MBnxF^c&P  
{M= *>P]E  
"Oh, very well, very well," said Geoffrey, "I daresay that it will be all right, but if Effie gets any worse, you will please understand that room must be made." <=w!:   
But Effie did not get worse. She remained much about the same. Geoffrey sat at home all day and employed himself in reading briefs; fortunately he had not to go to court. About six o'clock he went down to the House, and having dined very simply and quietly, took his seat and listened to some dreary talk, which was being carried on for the benefit of the reporters, about the adoption of the Welsh language in the law courts of Wales. |YfJ#Agm+  
Suddenly he became aware of a most extraordinary sense of oppression. An indefinite dread took hold of him, his very soul was filled with terrible apprehensions and alarm. Something dreadful seemed to knock at the portals of his sense, a horror which he could not grasp. His mind was confused, but little by little it grew clearer, and he began to understand that a danger threatened Beatrice, that she was in great peril. He was sure of it. Her agonised dying cries reached him where he was, though in no form which he could understand; once more her thought beat on his thought--once more and for the last time her spirit spoke to his. }n'W0 Sa  
Then suddenly a cold wind seemed to breathe upon his face and lift his hair, and everything was gone. His mind was as it had been; again he heard the dreary orator and saw the members slipping away to dinner. The conditions that disturbed him had passed, things were as they had been. Nor was this strange! For the link was broken. Beatrice was dead. She had passed into the domains of impenetrable silence. , E$f"  
'UZ i>Ta  
Geoffrey sat up with a gasp, and as he did so a letter was placed in his hand. It was addressed in Beatrice's handwriting and bore the Chester postmark. A chill fear seized him. What did it contain? He hurried with it into a private room and opened it. It was dated from Bryngelly on the previous Sunday and had several inclosures. wnQi5P+  
"My dearest Geoffrey," it began, "I have never before addressed you thus on paper, nor should I do so now, knowing to what risks such written words might put you, were it not that occasions may arise (as in this case) which seem to justify the risk. For when all things are ended between a man and a woman who are to each other what we have been, then it is well that the one who goes should speak plainly before speech becomes impossible, if only that the one who is left should not misunderstand that which has been done. Mt%Q5^  
"Geoffrey, it is probable--it is almost certain--that before your eyes read these words I shall be where in the body they can never see me more. I write to you from the brink of the grave; when you read it, it will have closed over me. aFh'KPhe  
: >$v@d  
"Geoffrey, I shall be dead. SF[Z]|0gs  
"I received your dear letter (it is destroyed now) in which you expressed a wish that I should come away with you to some other country, and I answered it in eight brief words. I dared not trust myself to write more, nor had I any time. How could you think that I should ever accept such an offer for my own sake, when to do so would have been to ruin you? But first I will tell you all that has happened here." (Here followed a long and exact description of those events with which we are already acquainted, including the denunciation of Beatrice by her sister, the threats of Owen Davies as regards Geoffrey himself, and the measures which she had adopted to gain time.)  Y@b|/+  
xQqZi b5I  
"Further," the letter continued, "I inclose you your wife's letter to me. And here I wish to state that I have not one word to say against Lady Honoria or her letter. I think that she was perfectly justified in writing as she did, for after all, dear Geoffrey, you are her husband, and in loving each other we have offended against her. She tells me truly that it is my duty to make all further communications between us impossible. There is only one way to do this, and I take it. T<mP.T,$!  
"And now I have spoken enough about myself, nor do I wish to enter into details that could only give you pain. There will be no scandal, dear, and if any word should be raised against you after I am gone, I have provided an answer in the second letter which I have inclosed. You can print it if necessary; it will be a sufficient reply to any talk. Nobody after reading it can believe that you were in any way connected with the accident which will happen. Dear, one word more--still about myself, you see! Do not blame yourself in this matter, for you are not to blame; of my own free will I do it, because in the extremity of the circumstances I think it best that one should go and the other be saved, rather than that both should be involved in a common ruin. Mbtk:GuY  
? UBE0C  
"Dear, do you remember how in that strange vision of mine, I dreamed that you came and touched me on the breast and showed me light? So it has come to pass, for you have given me love--that is light; and now in death I shall seek for wisdom. And this being fulfilled, shall not the rest be fulfilled in its season? Shall I not sit in those cloudy halls till I see you come to seek me, the word of wisdom on your lips? And since I cannot have you to myself, and be all in all to you, why I am glad to go. For here on the world is neither rest nor happiness; as in my dream, too often does 'Hope seem to rend her starry robes.' +J:wAmY4  
4 _Idf  
"I am glad to go from such a world, in which but one happy thing has found me--the blessing of your love. I am worn out with the weariness and struggle, and now that I have lost you I long for rest. I do not know if I sin in what I do; if so, may I be forgiven. If forgiveness is impossible, so be it! You will forgive me, Geoffrey, and you will always love me, however wicked I may be; even if, at the last, you go where I am not, you will remember and love the erring woman to whom, being so little, you still were all in all. We are not married, Geoffrey, according to the customs of the world, but two short days hence I shall celebrate a service that is greater and more solemn than any of the earth. For Death will be the Priest and that oath which I shall take will be to all eternity. Who can prophesy of that whereof man has no sure knowledge? Yet I do believe that in a time to come we shall look again into each other's eyes, and kiss each other's lips, and be one for evermore. If this is so, it is worth while to have lived and died; if not, then, Geoffrey, farewell! C )+%9Edg  
"If I may I will always be near you. Listen to the night wind and you shall hear my voice; look on the stars, you will see my eyes; and my love shall be as the air you breathe. And when at last the end comes, remember me, for if I live at all I shall be about you then. What have I more to say? So much, my dear, that words cannot convey it. Let it be untold; but whenever you hear or read that which is beautiful or tender, think 'this is what Beatrice would have said to me and could not!' M0"}>`1lJ  
"You will be a great man, dear, the foremost or one of the foremost of your age. You have already promised me to persevere to this end: I will not ask you to promise afresh. Do not be content to accept the world as women must. Great men do not accept the world; they reform it--and you are of their number. And when you are great, Geoffrey, you will use your power, not for self-interest, but to large and worthy ends; you will always strive to help the poor, to break down oppression from those who have to bar it, and to advance the honour of your country. You will do all this from your own heart and not because I ask it of you, but remember that your fame will be my best monument--though none shall ever know the grave it covers. o9AwW  
"Farewell, farewell, farewell! Oh, Geoffrey, my darling, to whom I have never been a wife, to whom I am more than any wife--do not forget me in the long years which are to come. Remember me when others forsake you. Do not forget me when others flatter you and try to win your love, for none can be to you what I have been-- none can ever love you more than that lost Beatrice who writes these heavy words to-night, and who will pass away blessing you with her last breath, to await you, if she may, in the land to which your feet also draw daily on." ]ppws3*Pa  
9Ts rg  
Then came a tear-stained postscript in pencil dated from Paddington Station on that very morning. n`2LGc[rP  
vD p|9VY?  
"I journeyed to London to see you, Geoffrey. I could not die without looking on your face once more. I was in the gallery of the House and heard your great speech. Your friend found me a place. Afterwards I touched your coat as you passed by the pillar of the gateway. Then I ran away because I saw your friend turn and look at me. I shall kiss this letter--just here before I close it --kiss it there too--it is our last cold embrace. Before the end I shall put on the ring you gave me--on my hand, I mean. I have always worn it upon my breast. When I touched you as you passed through the gateway I thought that I should have broken down and called to you--but I found strength not to do so. My heart is breaking and my eyes are blind with tears; I can write no more; I have no more to say. Now once again good-bye. Ave atque vale-- oh, my love!--B." \2NT7^H#  
The second letter was a dummy. That is to say it purported to be such an epistle as any young lady might have written to a gentleman friend. It began, "Dear Mr. Bingham," and ended, "Yours sincerely, Beatrice Granger," was filled with chit-chat, and expressed hopes that he would be able to come down to Bryngelly again later in the summer, when they would go canoeing. _W^{,*p  
kb2M3%6 V  
It was obvious, thought Beatrice, that if Geoffrey was accused by Owen Davies or anybody else of being concerned with her mysterious end, the production of such a frank epistle written two days previously would demonstrate the absurdity of the idea. Poor Beatrice, she was full of precautions! 6V^KOG  
Let him who may imagine the effect produced upon Geoffrey by this heartrending and astounding epistle! Could Beatrice have seen his face when he had finished reading it she would never have committed suicide. In a minute it became like that of an old man. As the whole truth sank into his mind, such an agony of horror, of remorse, of unavailing woe and hopelessness swept across his soul, that for a moment he thought his vital forces must give way beneath it, and that he should die, as indeed in this dark hour he would have rejoiced to do. Oh, how pitiful it was--how pitiful and how awful! To think of this love, so passionately pure, wasted on his own unworthiness. To think of this divine woman going down to lonely death for him--a strong man; to picture her crouching behind that gateway pillar and touching him as he passed, while he, the thrice accursed fool, knew nothing till too late; to know that he had gone to Euston and not to Paddington; to remember the matchless strength and beauty of the love which he had lost, and that face which he should never see again! Surely his heart would break. No man could bear it! n,.t~  
And of those cowards who hounded her to death, if indeed she was already dead! Oh, he would kill Owen Davies--yes, and Elizabeth too, were it not that she was a woman; and as for Honoria he had done with her. Scandal, what did he care for scandal? If he had his will there should be a scandal indeed, for he would beat this Owen Davies, this reptile, who did not hesitate to use a woman's terrors to prosper the fulfilling of his lust--yes, and then drag him to the Continent and kill him there. Only vengeance was left to him! D|rcSa.M  
Stop, he must not give way--perhaps she was not dead--perhaps that horrible presage of evil which had struck him like a storm was but a dream. Could he telegraph? No, it was too late; the office at Bryngelly would be closed--it was past eight now. But he could go. There was a train leaving a little after nine--he should be there by half-past six to-morrow. And Effie was ill--well, surely they could look after her for twenty-four hours; she was in no danger, and he must go--he could not bear this torturing suspense. Great God! how had she done the deed! F6h|AF|"  
Geoffrey snatched a sheet of paper and tried to write. He could not, his hand shook so. With a groan he rose, and going to the refreshment room swallowed two glasses of brandy one after another. The spirit took effect on him; he could write now. Rapidly he scribbled on a sheet of paper: _@47h86 Q  
"I have been called away upon important business and shall probably not be back till Thursday morning. See that Effie is properly attended to. If I am not back you must not go to the duchess's ball.--Geoffrey Bingham." y@kRJ 8d  
Then he addressed the letter to Lady Honoria and dispatched a commissionaire with it. This done, he called a cab and bade the cabman drive to Euston as fast as his horse could go. I6x  
O\h*?, )  
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