The Well - Beloved
On The Brink
Miss Bencomb was leaving the hotel for the railway, which was quite near at hand, and
had only recently been opened, as if on purpose for this event. At Jocelyn's suggestion
she wrote a message to inform her father that she had gone to her aunt's, with a view to
allaying anxiety and deterring pursuit. They walked together to the platform and bade
each other good-bye; each obtained a ticket independently, and Jocelyn got his luggage
from the cloak-room.
On the platform they encountered each other again, and there was a light in their glances
at each other which said, as by a flash- telegraph: 'We are bound for the same town, why
not enter the same compartment?'
She took a corner seat, with her back to the engine; he sat opposite. The guard looked in,
thought they were lovers, and did not show other travellers into that compartment. They
talked on strictly ordinary matters; what she thought he did not know, but at every
stopping station he dreaded intrusion. Before they were halfway to London the event he
had just begun to realize was a patent fact. The Beloved was again embodied; she filled
every fibre and curve of this woman's form.
Drawing near the great London station was like drawing near Doomsday. How should he
leave her in the turmoil of a crowded city street? She seemed quite unprepared for the
rattle of the scene. He asked her where her aunt lived.
'Bayswater,' said Miss Bencomb.
He called a cab, and proposed that she should share it till they arrived at her aunt's, whose
residence lay not much out of the way to his own. Try as he would he could not ascertain
if she understood his feelings, but she assented to his offer and entered the vehicle.
'We are old friends,' he said, as they drove onward.
'Indeed, we are,' she answered, without smiling.
'But hereditarily we are mortal enemies, dear Juliet.'
'Yes--What did you say?'
'I said Juliet.'