Man and Wife HTML version
He advanced a few steps, and stopped. Absorbed in herself, Anne failed to hear him. She
"I have come, as you made a point of it," he said, sullenly. "But, mind you, it isn't safe."
At the sound of his voice, Anne turned toward him. A change of expression appeared in
her face, as she slowly advanced from the back of the summer-house, which revealed a
likeness to her moth er, not perceivable at other times. As the mother had looked, in by-
gone days, at the man who had disowned her, so the daughter looked at Geoffrey
Delamayn--with the same terrible composure, and the same terrible contempt.
"Well?" he asked. "What have you got to say to me?"
"Mr. Delamayn," she answered, "you are one of the fortunate people of this world. You
are a nobleman's son. You are a handsome man. You are popular at your college. You are
free of the best houses in England. Are you something besides all this? Are you a coward
and a scoundrel as well?"
He started--opened his lips to speak--checked himself--and made an uneasy attempt to
laugh it off. "Come!" he said, "keep your temper."
The suppressed passion in her began to force its way to the surface.
"Keep my temper?" she repeated. "Do you of all men expect me to control myself? What
a memory yours must be! Have you forgotten the time when I was fool enough to think
you were fond of me? and mad enough to believe you could keep a promise?"
He persisted in trying to laugh it off. "Mad is a strongish word to use, Miss Silvester!"
"Mad is the right word! I look back at my own infatuation--and I can't account for it; I
can't understand myself. What was there in you," she asked, with an outbreak of
contemptuous surprise, "to attract such a woman as I am?"
His inexhaustible good-nature was proof even against this. He put his hands in his
pockets, and said, "I'm sure I don't know."
She turned away from him. The frank brutality of the answer had not offended her. It
forced her, cruelly forced her, to remember that she had nobody but herself to blame for
the position in which she stood at that moment. She was unwilling to let him see how the
remembrance hurt her--that was all. A sad, sad story; but it must be told. In her mother's
time she had been the sweetest, the most lovable of children. In later days, under the care
of her mother's friend, her girlhood had passed so harmlessly and so happily--it seemed
as if the sleeping passions might sleep forever! She had lived on to the prime of her
womanhood--and then, when the treasure of her life was at its richest, in one fatal
moment she had flung it away on the man in whose presence she now stood.
Was she without excuse? No: not utterly without excuse.
She had seen him under other aspects than the aspect which he presented now. She had
seen him, the hero of the river-race, the first and foremost man in a trial of strength and