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must have seen how I made my life. I their depth. Julia looked at Joy in forced it to match his, to try to keep a puzzled way. him; and I never kept him.
"Don't take it too hard,” she said “I can't do it any more now. Some soothingly. “The worst of everything thing has broken in me. He always is over now. You can't go on feelgot out of every difficulty, and left me ing, you know, beyond a certain
, in it to stand the racket. You see, if point.' you think of yourself first, you can al- "It is n't-it can't be over yet,” ways escape. The danger is there just whispered Joy. “Julia dearest, it's all the same, but somebody else gets been so awful for you, I can't take it caught in it. He's never had a failure; in yet. I'm trying to, but I can't. It they were all mine. But he'll fail only hurts me without letting me see. now, thank God!"
I don't suppose I can ever understand “What do you mean, Julia,” Joy how awful it has been for you, but it cried— "he 'll fail now? Is there any- could be worse, it could be worse, if thing worse that's going to happen?" you make Owen worse. O Julia, we
Julia's gray eyes turned as bright can't do that! Perhaps I have alas steel.
ready, because I did n't know; but I “Yes,” she said. “Why do you sup- do know now, and you love him. You pose I had you here? To comfort me? don't want Owen to do another bad
I There is no comfort for wrongs like thing?” mine. I did n't mean you to know all "I hate him,” said Julia in a suffothis stuff; I only meant Owen to get to cated voice. “He's the father of my care for you—and fail.
children, and I hate him! If I could "I love you, and I risked you for make him suffer for a moment a tenth that. I want him to know just for of what I have suffered, I 'd die once what it is to be ashamed of your happy.' own heart. That 's what he's made “But that 's only because you love women. I knew you were safe; you've him,” Joy persisted. “You would n't always cared for Nick, so I played you. want to drag him into being like you, Don't blame me too much, Joy! I've you would n't feel so tortured if you been turning to stone for years, and were n't part of him. You only want stones do cruel things. Only help me him different. That's what is so awto bring it off. Don't let him know ful for you, his not being different. you know. He'll be fool enough to try It's because he is n't, because he can't to make love to you. Let him know be, that you 're so unhappy. It would then!"
only make you unhappier if he was "Oh, no! no, Julia!" Joy cried out cruel to me, too." suddenly. “I think something will “No, no!” protested Julia. “I want happen to me if he tells me that.” him to see-you don't understandThere was an ominous note in Joy's I'm ashamed, Joy. I've loved him, voice that frightened Julia for a wanted his worthless love, cried for it, moment; Joy had cried out as if she hungered for it, nearly died because I had gone one step beyond what she could n't get it! That 's all fed his could bear. It was like the cry of vanity. I want to see him starved as some one sinking suddenly out of I've been starved!”
Joy said nothing at all; she only neither light nor air; but the darkness looked at Julia.
was outside of her, it was a wall before "You judge me, Joy," Julia asked her eyes, it had not touched her heart. with trembling lips—“you judge me, It was nearly morning when Julia and not Owen?”
said suddenly, after a long silence: “Oh, but I don't,” said Joy; “I don't "Do what you like, then, Joy. Let judge either of you at all. I love you him off if you like. I see what I wanted both, and I'm unhappy for you both.” would n't do any good. I don't see
“O Joy, I should n't have made you how you 've made me see it. I'm not unhappy!" whispered Julia, and as she sorry for him; why should I be? But I spoke something hard and heavy in suppose you are right, since love is out her melted, and she began to cry. Joy of the question; it won't do any partook her in her arms then and held her ticular good simply to hate. It would there as if she were her child. Her pity only be like falling off the house to die had its way now; it sank down and and breaking my leg once again. I down into Julia's very being. The won't even do that any more. I 'll broken phrases of Julia's hopeless settle down and look after my twins.' grief poured out of her like some hard Julia laughed a little hopeless, obstacles that suddenly give way under amused laugh, kissed Joy, and fell a flood of waters. She was escaping asleep. from what her heart had held; her The house was quite dark and still, bitterness receded from her, the cruelty and Joy was all alone in it. Nina had that had risen up out of the wreck of gone back to her room and slept. her love, the jealous misdirection of Owen slept. There was no one to share her outraged pride yielded, and every
her vigil. word of her heart's bitterness as it fell She crept back to her room and to from her entered into Joy's heart like a the open window again. The air blew sword.
cool and fresh against her forehead. This was what love could mean: the She remembered death. She had been sound which had set Joy's spirit upon so terrified of it for Rosemary; the those strange sweet tides, the blessed thought of it had ridden her for sense of unity when she and Owen were months like a nightmare, and when it alone and near, could they deceive? came, it was sweet and delivering. These disconnected spirits, this rest- She had seen love made terrible toless agony, mistrust and broken faith, night, but perhaps love, too, was were they the end of love?
innocent of the terrors that surrounded But in her heart love had no end; it. What terror could there be in the cries of Julia's pain, the truth of tenderness? Owen's selfishness, did nothing to shake If she ran away from it and tried to her own amazing tenderness. She only escape it, would she even know that it loved them more, because she saw could prove, like death, a great alternaquite plainly there was more need for tive to disaster? Her first impulse had love.
been to go away instantly, not to see There was a darkness all about her, Owen again, or risk having to judge a jangling darkness, as if she had been him. She would not judge him now, caught in a tunnel where there was but she might have to stay. She must not let him think she had a horror of Owen was no deliberate sinner; he him-a horror so great that she had to was fastidious and light-hearted. Conrun away, shaking the dust off her feet.
sequences never appalled him until She must n't do that; she must stay they happened, and privilege had until he saw that though she knew, usually exempted him from their she cared, and though she cared, she happening. If it is hard for a rich man could n't ever give him what it was to enter into the kingdom of heaven, wrong for them to want.
it is sometimes as hard for him to go She would go, then, but she could into the kingdom of hell. He does not not go before. She leaned her head go very much farther than the portal. low on her hands and prayed.
The devil does the rest. She did not think of herself any Owen was quite sure that he would more. Until the sun rose out of a bank never do Joy any harm. She did not of cloud and flooded the garden with belong either to the type or to the class the surprise of day, she thought with- of women to whom harm comes. He out ceasing of Julia, of Owen, and did not even want to change that look of Nina. She drove her tired heart of steady confidence in her eyes. He against their pain like an exhausted was like a child who clamors that he soldier pressing on under fire toward will not destroy his Sunday toy; only an invisible goal.
when it is put into his hands his care
lessness destroys it. XV
Owen vowed to himself that he It was an uncomfortable day. The would not be careless this time. No rain swept round the house in sheets, woman had ever touched his heart as the wind thundered in the void of the deeply as Joy had touched it. She besky, descending to tear down the last lieved in him with an unruffled steadileaves in a savage spite, and to crash ness; other women had believed in him, against the doors and windows with an but they had n't made him believe in intermittent pummeling, like the roll himself.
himself. Since he had known Joy, of heavy seas against a ship.
Owen felt sure that he was a better Owen sat in a large leather arm
He was not even very angry chair before the fire. He had the with Nina for suddenly disappearing “Times” spread open on his knees, but without a word, leaving him all his he was not reading it, and a cigarette letters to answer. Many men would in his mouth, which he had allowed to have dismissed a secretary for less. go out. He was in a very curious state Of course Owen was, as a matter of of mind. Joy had not come down to fact, deeply thankful that Nina had breakfast that morning, nor was she in gone; but he had tricked so many the nursery afterward. His whole be
His whole be people that at a pinch he could trick ing needed her. He felt like a cast- himself. He told himself now that away on a desert island hunting for a Nina's sudden departure was very well. Unless he could find it, he was inconvenient. lost. Even without finding it he might He was not going to make love to be lost, but his immediate need was Joy. All yesterday, he had resisted greater than his fear of subsequent the temptation; it was only when Joy dangers. His thirst consumed him. herself was not there that he failed to
resist it. He told himself that this have dealt him this cruel stroke. She temptation which he intended to re- had waited until every nerve and sist was really Julia's responsibility. thought of his heart were set upon this She should n't have put the girl in his creature of his dreams, and then with a way. She was perfectly safe, of quick, ruthless touch she had set them course, but she should n't have been apart forever. A feeling as hot and put there.
hard as murder rose up and shook him; Better men than he would have been but Owen could n't get rid of his pain tempted. He saw where these better by anger. As he met Joy's eyes, murmen would have fallen, and he rose
der felt inadequate. superior to them, but without much If she had only blamed him, ranged conviction. Better men seldom came herself on the side of his enemies, she into his field of vision except when he would at least have roused his self-pity, was excusing himself. Well, thank and not forced him to feel that he had God, Nina was out of the house! done a worse wrong than any he had
In some vague, inexplicable way suffered. But she did n't blame him; Owen was shocked that Nina should she only looked at him as if she herself know Joy. He really blamed himself was to blame. He knew as he met her sharply for this unfortunate coinci- diffident, appealing eyes that the dence. He was not shocked that Joy avenging angel has not a sword. should know himself.
“Joy,” he said huskily, “they 've A knock came at the door, and Joy told you I 'm a blackguard, have n't entered. He sprang to his feet to wel- they? I suppose you must believe come her. She had never come to his them, and if you don't believe them, room like this before; it was as if some I'll have to tell you myself. You can wonderful answering need in her had believe me?"
" drawn her to him, one of those inex- She did not seem to see that this was plicable miracles of dawning love, almost like exculpating himself. He speechless, obscure, and wise.
hesitated for a moment, and then he “I am going away,” she said in a poured out to her the whole shifting, very low voice, “this afternoon. I evasive history of his hunts and capwanted to see you first, Owen."
tures. There had been so much perAnd then he saw her face. She had sonal disappointment mixed up with been a child yesterday, and now the them! So many women had failed child was dead. Her grave, white face him! They had even tried to deceive had no mark in it left of her youth. him into believing them less exacting Her cheeks still kept their sweet, round and fatiguing than they were. There curves, but her eyes had lost their is always a great deal to be said for a happy light, the young, half-opened man who has been too popular with lips were closed by sharp control. She women. Owen said it almost better stood there, very gentle and quiet, than any one else. Women had been
, quite near him, and in her eyes there selfish with him; they had tried to pin was neither reproach nor faltering; but him down. They had taken his charmhe saw in a moment that she knew. ing manner too seriously. Judged by
He gave a long, inarticulate sound this standard of a man of the world, he of pain and rage. Only Julia could had n't really done anything particularly wrong. He had been a victim of "I will not dismiss her, if that is circumstances. The circumstances had what you mean.” been rather too much alike, and so, it Joy thanked him humbly. must be confessed, had the victim. “There 's another thing,” she said, Still, he had not meant any harm.
“I don't know if I ought to tell you, Then he swerved suddenly and took but perhaps you could n't find out if I another line altogether—a line that did n't. Julia loves you. She won't would appeal to Joy more. He threw ever say it; but if you know it, know it over the standard of a man of the in your heart, it might make things world, and admitted himself the chief easier, might n't it?" of sinners. He could count on Joy's “Loves me,” he cried, “and she 's forgiving crimes, and while he insisted told you things that have hurt you on his guilt, he adroitly showed her like this! O Joy! Joy! do you call that that his humility was more striking love?" still; but he found that the élan of Joy moved a little restively; she did these two explanations mysteriously n't like Owen's accusing Julia. failed him. It was as if he became aware “It was my fault,” she said quickly; that Joy did not attach any impor- "I made her. I asked her. If I 'm tance to his presentation of his sins, nor hurt, as you say, it's because I've been perhaps even to the sins themselves. wicked. I did n't know it was wicked; What really had brought that look of it did n't seem like wickedness. It death into her eyes was what his sins seemed so right to love. That's why I had made of him, a man she could not came to say good-by. No, no, don't wholly trust.
say anything, Owen! If you could “Owen,” she said at last, as if he had just not say anything, I only want you not spoken, "you'll be kind, won't to know, that some of it need n't be you, to Nina?”
wicked, not if we don't say anything, “Has she told you?” he asked and it makes us kind.” fiercely, “or was it Julia?” He could Her eyes pleaded with him. They feel angry again now; the perfidy of might have won him, but she did not jealous women outraged his sense of remember or even know the dreadful justice.
power of her beauty. She appealed But Joy brushed away his anger; consciously to his spirit, and Owen she said simply:
had n't much spirit; but she appealed “I've found out such a lot of things unconsciously to his senses, and he had
a lately, and I've done wrong. I have always let his senses have the last word made things hard for everybody. I in every struggle. have been very selfish and careless. I “O Joy,” he cried, “do you mean you did n't know, I did n't know anything love me? Do you mean it as I mean about what I was doing. But I do it? If you do, what does all this stuff know now.
It would help me very in the past matter? What does anymuch, Owen, if you were nice to thing matter? If I 'd known you Nina.”
before, if I'd met you in time, I swear Owen acted with magnanimity. He I'd never have thought of any one still believed that Julia had told her but you.
but you. My dear! my dear!" He said, after a moment's pause:
"Don't say it!" she cried under her