Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

"I used to think,” said Anthony, pay as well as you. Still, you 've paid slowly, watching Kitty's face as he a good deal by now, Kitty, and I supchose his words to meet her need, “that pose, if there is a God, what matters there was nothing beyond death, that most, is to have learned love and courall our struggles and our troubles age. I don't see anything else I want ceased automatically. I am not so sure to carry on myself into another world, now. When I thought like that I had and you 've had plenty of those. If n't been in love. There was nothing in you do go out anywhere, you 'll take my life that felt it wanted to reach be- them both with you.” yond it. I can imagine now something Kitty drew his hand against her stronger than death. I don't say there cheek. is something stronger, but I can im- "I'll take love with me," she said, agine it. You see, I don't know how to "now, Tony." put it quite, but since I've known you, They were silent while Kitty drank I 've cared, cared all round a lot more her tea, then she said: for everybody. Before I only knew "I 'm awfully sleepy, Tony, but it things from the outside. My work was seems such a waste of time to go to as good as I could make it, but I always sleep." stood outside it. Since I cared for you, He bent over her and kissed her. lots of me gets inside. It is n't only “Go to sleep," he said. “There 's liking to make a success; it 's caring plenty of time really for everything, for a person. It 's you, Kitty, who have and it will make to-morrow better.” given me that feeling."

"To-morrow," said Kitty after a little “Have I really ?” asked Kitty, in- pause, “is just a sort of adventure, is credulously. “How nice of you to tell n't it, Tony? It 'll be awfully funny if me, Tony! I should have thought I'd you and the monks and Peckham and I put you off. I 've put off most people. all come out some day in the same place. I 'm awfully glad you care more be- Can you hear the bell? They go and cause of me. I care, too; that 's what pray in the church at two o'clock." rather upsets me just now. I'm not Anthony listened from the open winafraid a bit, but I do feel sorry. I see dow. He heard very faintly the signal now I must have done such a lot of of the monks for their first prayers. harm not caring. I don't believe my Kitty turned toward him smiling, doing all the things I ought n't really and she was still smiling when Anthony matters, do you?

saw that she was asleep. Anthony's “But not having cared enough about mind stilled itself, and turned once the people I did them with, that 's all more to meet its new ordeal. wrong, and having hurt poor women He had determined what to do. Just who loved their men, that 's rather as he had taken her pain, so he would awful, is n't it? I don't like to think take her life; he would take everything of hurting people now I know what that menaced her, and dispose of it. It being hurt is like. Besides, if there is did not matter what the consequences a God, I suppose we 're all in the same were or what the risk; they would fall boat and part of Him; so the worst upon him and upon him alone. Kitty thing we can do is to hurt each other, should go forth upon that great advenis n't it?”

ture freed of her pain and of the long Anthony nodded. He did not at- year's waiting. tempt to evade Kitty's scruples. Brush- Anthony was intensely sure of himing aside truth did not seem to him a self now, and he was aware of nothing kindness.

else with which he had to reckon. “We all do it," he said gently, “some of us from being too strict with our

CHAPTER XXVIII lives, so that we feel better than other people, and are worse, and perhaps Kitty slept placidly till six o'clock. She those who have n't been strict enough- was not conscious of Anthony's leaving hurt as well. Because, if you have n't her or of his whispered conversation counted the cost, other people have to with Peckham at her door. She woke to a bright fire and her morning tea say something religious to me, and i with a sense of unusual security. Peck- don't like religion first thing in the ham always lit her fire early and morning. Have you brought in the lace

. brought her tea, but that was usually cap with the butterflies on and my best after a bad night, and this had been a lawn nightgown? I'll wear my blue good one. Kitty's arm and shoulder satin dressing-gown with the old lace felt numb and stiff from the recent at- collar." tack, but mere discomfort was a small “I ironed the butterfly cap last night, thing after acute pain. It was a minute Miss Kitty," said Peckham, severely, or two before Kitty remembered that “though I must say I think it out of the day held a new experience for her. place, butterflies not being what you Her nerve rose unfalteringly to meet it. should call upon in a time like the

"Well, Peckham,” she said, “is it a present." nice day? Am I to have nothing to "I don't know about that, Peckham,” eat just when I 'm hungry?"

said Kitty. “You 're no more likely to “That 's Captain_Arden's orders, suit eternity plain than pretty; rather

; Miss Kitty," said Peckham, firmly, less, I should think. However, I 'll turn "and I don't need to have starched caps up here all right again, don't you fret. and aprons to carry them out. It 's I shall just buzz off and then buzz back not many gentlemen would have been again, and don't forget I want to paste wishful to do their nursing themselves, buckles on the blue slippers." with me by way of being hands and Peckham produced the blue slippers. feet to them, when they could have had "You stick to Captain Arden, whatall the certificated sisters, or whatever ever happens," Kitty added; "he 'll take they call themselves, and welcome. If care of you. Papa 's no good, poor old I'd been his mother, Captain Arden thing! I dare say he 'd like to be, but could n't be more considerate of my he's like me; he has expensive tastes. feelings, and I can't say a word to thank Is that you, Tony ? Come in and see him, Miss Kitty. I should say 'Ma'am,' what I look like. It 's a pity that you for fear of not looking like flint, the are n't going to have more doctors. I way the young ladies do in the hos- shall be rather wasted on only two of pitals."

you." “Dear old Peckham !” said Kitty. "I Kitty laughed at him from the fire'll tell him you 're pleased. Is the cook side. She stood there, blue and white, down-stairs giving him a good break- like one of the June butterflies that fast?"

haunt the down country. “I dare say he 'll be able to eat it," “You have n't seen my post,” she said. said Peckham, dubiously. "I don't wish “Henry has sent me pink roses, and to say anything about other people's your mother a box of her own flowers, servants at a moment like this, Miss the flame-color cyclamen I love so. It Kitty; I will only remark that they was too sweet of her. And here 's a mean well and leave it at that. The wire from Daphne. 'All love and symhomlette the cook made him last night pathy. Coming up to-morrow.' Of looked trod on, and the twenny maid course you must stop her; their baby 's wears corsets that pinch her to the nearly due, is n't it? But tell her I was bone, and scamps her work according, awfully glad she wanted to come; but as well she may. Only one cup of tea, I 'll tell her that myself, of course, later, please, Miss Kitty, Captain Arden says, on. Your people are most awfully nice, and then to lie still till he comes up to Tony. I'm not surprised—” Kitty you. You 're not to have no hair-pins broke off suddenly. She was going to in, and stockings you must. I wish I say that she was not surprised he had could have gone in with you, my dear not wanted her to know them, but it lamb, but the captain says he 'll take might hurt him to remember this now; care of you there himself.”

so she said instead: "I'm not surprised. "Pooh!" said Kitty, "I sha'n't need You 're rather nice yourself.” She any taking care of. Don't make faces looked up at him with the old provocaat me, Peckham. I know you want to tive light in her eyes.

[graphic][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"Kitty laughed at him from the fireside. She stood there, blue and white, like one of the June butter.

Alies that haunt the down country"

was

you.”

Anthony drew her to an arm-chair by ness of great moments. There was so the fire.

much that lay unachieved between “I did n't mean you to get dressed so them, everything, except the slender soon," he said gently. “Hilton Laurence thread of their strange tenderness. Anmay be a little late."

thony felt that he could say no more; He sat down opposite her, and Kitty his heart was dumb. He took her in drew a cigarette out of a long silver his arms and kissed her. He was inbox, lit it, and put it between his lips. tensely aware of her life, of the re

“You 'll feel happier smoking,” she sponse in her, the supple sweetness of said kindly. "Men always feel so stupid her youth and its surrender; and deeper before things happen; they don't know still he

aware that his

own what to do with their minds. It must strength, which he held back for the be specially boring if they 're clever like sake of her frailness, was as incomplete you, Tony, because then they expect to to hold or protect her as if he had been say such awfully good things, and no a cripple. one can say good things at last mo- Her slight, delicate body dragged at ments.”

the root of his being. Her eyes smiled “I don't know that I want to say any- into his, sunny, dauntless, challenging thing good," said Anthony; "but it 's eyes, as laughing as an open stream. true there are things I 'd like to say to “There,” she said, "off you go to meet

He spoke as unemotionally as your old wise men. Don't worry about possible, but the words fought them- me. It 'll amuse me to think of all the selves out of him.

funny things that may be going to hapHe could not let her go without a pen in another half-hour." sign into the dark. She would never Anthony forced himself to leave her, hear or speak to him again, because be- but his whole being resisted his will. fore had recovered from the opera- He felt himself one with Kitty; to go tion, when they had left Kitty in his from her was like falling over a cliff. care, he intended to inject sufficient He guessed by the slam of the front morphia to prevent her coming round. door that Hilton Laurence had arrived. He had the syringe in his pocket now, He bent his head to meet her lips and and as he looked across at her, his mind left her. It was a cold, black morning. was registering the weight of the mo- The little, empty room Anthony had arments which lay between her life and ranged as a theater was very hot and his action.

light, a large fire burned at red heat, "You do trust me, Kitty?” he asked and all the lights were on. her in a low voice-“trust me to do “You 'd better have a pick-me-up," what I think best for you?

Hilton Laurence observed to Anthony Kitty laughed.

after they had made their brief ar"Oh, yes," she said gently; "you 'll rangements. always do right, poor old thing. Per- “I don't need one,” said Anthony, haps I might be afraid of what 's right, quietly. “Shall I fetch her ?” but I could n't be afraid you would n't Laurence nodded. do it.”

"It's a rum job not having a nurse,” "You need n't be afraid, Kitty," said said the anesthetist, fretfully. "I do Anthony, holding her eyes. "I should dislike innovations in an operation do what was wrong without hesitation case.” if I thought it could help you."

“Oh, well, as long as your tools are “That 's nice of you,” said Kitty ap- handy, and you have a man with a head preciatively. “I like people to say they on to stand by you," said Laurence, don't mind what they do for me; but, cheerfully, “it 's all the same in the still, don't do wrong. It would only end. Nurses have a nice look and save make you feel uncomfortable. I shall a good deal of bother, especially with a get on all right. Do you like my nervous patient. But this is n't a nerbuckles?

vous patient. She 's had a lot to fight Anthony said he did like her buckles through, poor little woman. What are The room seemed full of the clumsi- you going to use?

"For a long job like this, chloroform Anthony's outer attention was fixed is much more satisfactory," said the upon Laurence's needs, but his inner anesthetist. “However, we can start faculties concentrated to encounter this with a mixture and see how she stands new element. As he did so, he discovit.”

ered that the whole force of his cenThe amazing vision of Kitty broke tered will was useless. Hilton Lauroff their conversation. She had never ence and his unrivaled skill, the aneslooked prettier in her life. The long, thetist and his intent watchfulness, blue gown, the butterfly cap, the deli- were nothing against this unseen powcately reddened lips, brought out the er; they were blown before it like leaves intensity of her great, dark eyes, alive in a wind. with spirit and laughter. She wrinkled In a moment of terrible despair Anup her nose as she entered.

thony felt himself flung back and beat“You poor old things! How hot you en before the battle had begun. The have made it for yourselves !” she said. unseen force had swept them all aside "I shall be the only comfortable person and broken its way into the life of in the room.”

Kitty. There was a moment of susShe shook hands with Laurence and pense, and then as quickly as his dethe anesthetist, and with a quick move- spair there shot into Anthony's brain ment sprang sidewise to the table, an amazing and sharp relief. swinging her feet toward the floor.

He knew in a flash that this power You did n't think I could do that was not an enemy. It was true it tore with one arm in a sling, did you?" she to pieces the husk of the beloved life, asked gaily. “That 's the advantage of but mercy was at the root of the debeing light."

struction. It was tearing her to pieces Her breathing came as swiftly and because the pieces were in the way, life asily as a child's. Anthony stood on itself was in the way of Kitty; and Anone side of her, his hand on her wrist, thony became aware that what he and the anesthetist on the other. thought was his enemy was an immense

Her eyes smiled across the table at reinforcement. Hilton Laurence, and then closed. She Once more he centered his will in the opened them as the anesthetist, satisfied struggle, but he went with the stream by his examination, began to give her now and no longer threw his impotence his last directions in soothing profes- against it. sional tones. Her lips curved in a faint He alone was aware of the unseen mocking smile. She looked away from power, but he saw the others moving at him to Anthony; behind the laughter in its bidding. her eyes was a sudden gleam of reas- Anthony knew what had happened to surance. It was as if her spirit gath- Kitty before the eyes of the anesthetist ered itself up together and called to had caught the sudden change. He him not for help, but to give him help. leaned forward and said quietly,-he She had never said in words that she heard the words slip out into the room loved him, but her eyes said it now, without effort or excitement, — "She 's definitely, completely, without waver- gone." ing. Then they closed finally and did Hilton Laurence, bending over a sevnot open again.

ered vein, said: "She 's off like a bird,” said the anes- “Nonsense! my dear chap, keep your thetist, with satisfaction.

head! She's as right as rain.” But he Hilton Laurence reappeared from be- looked up sharply as the anesthetist hind a screen ready to begin his task. cried: No one spoke for a time.

“By Jove! he's right! She's gone!” Then Anthony became aware that Anthony stood by them curiously unthere was another presence in the room. concerned, while Laurence and the anesIt was the same power he had fought thetist tried one after the other their the night before.

useless remedies. He obeyed their flung It filled the room with a strange, pre- directions automatically, threw open the liminary tension before it began to act. window, drew out the oxygen-cylinder,

« AnkstesnisTęsti »