The Golden Slipper HTML version

Problem 9. Violet's Own
"It has been too much for you?"
"I am afraid so."
It was Roger Upjohn who had asked the question; it was Violet who answered. They had
withdrawn from a crowd of dancers to a balcony, half-shaded, half open to the moon,--a
balcony made, it would seem, for just such stolen interviews between waltzes.
Now, as it happened, Roger's face was in the shadow, but Violet's in the full light. Very
sweet it looked, very ethereal, but also a little wan. He noticed this and impetuously
"You are pale; and your hand! see, how it trembles!"
Slowly withdrawing it from the rail where it had rested, she sent one quick glance his
way and, in a low voice, said:
"I have not slept since that night."
"Four days!" he murmured. Then, after a moment of silence, "You bore yourself so
bravely at the time, I thought, or rather, I hoped, that success had made you forget the
horror. I could not have slept myself, if I had known--"
"It is part of the price I pay," she broke in gently. "All good things have to be paid for.
But I see--I realize that you do not consider what I am doing good. Though it helps other
people--has helped you--you wonder why, with all the advantages I possess, I should
meddle with matters so repugnant to a woman's natural instincts."
Yes, he wondered. That was evident from his silence. Seeing her as she stood there, so
quaintly pretty, so feminine in look and manner--in short, such a flower--it was but
natural that he should marvel at the incongruity she had mentioned.
"It has a strange, odd look," she admitted, after a moment of troubled hesitation. "The
most considerate person cannot but regard it as a display of egotism or of a most
mercenary spirit. The cheque you sent me for what I was enabled to do for you in
Massachusetts (the only one I have ever received which I have been tempted to refuse)
shows to what extent you rated my help and my--my expectations. Had I been a poor girl
struggling for subsistence, this generosity would have warmed my heart as a token of
your desire to cut that struggle short. But taken with your knowledge of my home and its
luxuries, it has often made me wonder what you thought."
"Shall I tell you?"