McTeague HTML version

No, Trina did not know. "Do I love him? Do I love him?" A thousand times she put
the question to herself during the next two or three days. At night she hardly
slept, but lay broad awake for hours in her little, gayly painted bed, with its white
netting, torturing herself with doubts and questions. At times she remembered
the scene in the station with a veritable agony of shame, and at other times she
was ashamed to recall it with a thrill of joy. Nothing could have been more
sudden, more unexpected, than that surrender of herself. For over a year she
had thought that Marcus would some day be her husband. They would be
married, she supposed, some time in the future, she did not know exactly when;
the matter did not take definite shape in her mind. She liked Cousin Mark very
well. And then suddenly this cross-current had set in; this blond giant had
appeared, this huge, stolid fellow, with his immense, crude strength. She had not
loved him at first, that was certain. The day he had spoken to her in his "Parlors"
she had only been terrified. If he had confined himself to merely speaking, as did
Marcus, to pleading with her, to wooing her at a distance, forestalling her wishes,
showing her little attentions, sending her boxes of candy, she could have easily
withstood him. But he had only to take her in his arms, to crush down her
struggle with his enormous strength, to subdue her, conquer her by sheer brute
force, and she gave up in an instant.
But why—why had she done so? Why did she feel the desire, the necessity of
being conquered by a superior strength? Why did it please her? Why had it
suddenly thrilled her from head to foot with a quick, terrifying gust of passion, the
like of which she had never known? Never at his best had Marcus made her feel
like that, and yet she had always thought she cared for Cousin Mark more than
for any one else.
When McTeague had all at once caught her in his huge arms, something had
leaped to life in her—something that had hitherto lain dormant, something strong
and overpowering. It frightened her now as she thought of it, this second self that
had wakened within her, and that shouted and clamored for recognition. And yet,
was it to be feared? Was it something to be ashamed of? Was it not, after all,
natural, clean, spontaneous? Trina knew that she was a pure girl; knew that this
sudden commotion within her carried with it no suggestion of vice.
Dimly, as figures seen in a waking dream, these ideas floated through Trina's
mind. It was quite beyond her to realize them clearly; she could not know what
they meant. Until that rainy day by the shore of the bay Trina had lived her life
with as little self-consciousness as a tree. She was frank, straightforward, a
healthy, natural human being, without sex as yet. She was almost like a boy. At
once there had been a mysterious disturbance. The woman within her suddenly