It was in packing the trunks and leaving the studio in Washington Square (owing to the continued absence of Mr. Dexter they had never been compelled t_acate it) that Angela came across the first evidence of Eugene's duplicity.
Because of his peculiar indifference to everything except matters whic_elated to his art, he had put the letters which he had received in times pas_rom Christina Channing, as well as the one and only one from Ruby Kenny, in _ox which had formerly contained writing paper and which he threw carelessl_n a corner of his trunk. He had by this time forgotten all about them, thoug_is impression was that he had placed them somewhere where they would not b_ound. When Angela started to lay out the various things which occupied it sh_ame across this box and opening it took out the letters.
Curiosity as to things relative to Eugene was at this time the dominan_haracteristic of her life. She could neither think nor reason outside of thi_elationship which bound her to him. He and his affairs were truly the sum an_ubstance of her existence. She looked at the letters oddly and then opene_ne—the first from Christina. It was dated Florizel, the summer of three year_efore when she was waiting so patiently for him at Blackwood. It bega_onservatively enough—"Dear E—," but it concerned itself immediately wit_eferences to an apparently affectionate relationship. "I went this morning t_ee if by chance there were any tell-tale evidences of either Diana or Adoni_n Arcady. There were none of importance. A hairpin or two, a broken mother- of-pearl button from a summer waist, the stub of a lead-pencil wherewith _ertain genius sketched. The trees seemed just as unconscious of any nymphs o_amadryads as they could be. The smooth grass was quite unruffled of any feet.
It is strange how much the trees and forest know and keep their counsel.
"And how is the hot city by now? Do you miss a certain evenly-swung hammock?
Oh, the odor of leaves and the dew! Don't work too hard. You have an eas_uture and almost too much vitality. More repose for you, sir, an_onsiderably more optimism of thought. I send you good wishes.—Diana."
Angela wondered at once who Diana was, for before she had begun the letter sh_ad looked for the signature on the succeeding page. Then after reading thi_he hurried feverishly from letter to letter, seeking a name. There was none.
"Diana of the Mountains," "The Hamadryad," "The Wood-Nymph," "C," "C C"—s_hey ran, confusing, badgering, enraging her until all at once it came t_ight—her first name at least. It was on the letter from Baltimore suggestin_hat he come to Florizel—"Christina."
"Ah," she thought, "Christina! That is her name." Then she hurried back t_ead the remaining epistles, hoping to find some clue to her surname. The_ere all of the same character, in the manner of writing she despised,—top- lofty, make-believe, the nasty, hypocritical, cant and make-believ_uperiority of the studios. How Angela hated her from that moment. How sh_ould have taken her by the throat and beaten her head against the trees sh_escribed. Oh, the horrid creature! How dare she! And Eugene—how could he!
What a way to reward her love! What an answer to make to all her devotion! A_he very time when she was waiting so patiently, he was in the mountains wit_his Diana. And here she was packing his trunk for him like the little slav_hat she was when he cared so little, had apparently cared so little all thi_ime. How could he ever have cared for her and done anything like this! H_idn't! He never had! Dear Heaven!
She began clenching and unclenching her hands dramatically, working hersel_nto that frenzy of emotion and regret which was her most notabl_haracteristic. All at once she stopped. There was another letter in anothe_andwriting on cheaper paper. "Ruby" was the signature.
"Dear Eugene:"—she read—"I got your note several weeks ago, but I couldn'_ring myself to answer it before this. I know everything is over between u_nd that is all right I suppose. It has to be. You couldn't love any woma_ong, I think. I know what you say about having to go to New York to broade_our field is true. You ought to, but I'm sorry you didn't come out. You migh_ave. Still I don't blame you, Eugene. It isn't much different from what ha_een going on for some time. I have cared, but I'll get over that, I know, an_ won't ever think hard of you. Won't you return me the notes I have sent yo_rom time to time, and my picture? You won't want them now.—Ruby."
"I stood by the window last night and looked out on the street. The moon wa_hining and those dead trees were waving in the wind. I saw the moon on tha_ool of water over in the field. It looked like silver. Oh, Eugene, I wis_hat I were dead."
Angela got up (as Eugene had) when she read this. The pathos struck home, fo_omehow it matched her own. Ruby! Who was she? Where had she been conceale_hile she, Angela, was coming to Chicago? Was this the fall and winter o_heir engagement? It certainly was. Look at the date. He had given her th_iamond ring on her finger that fall! He had sworn eternal affection! He ha_worn there was never another girl like her in all the world and yet, at tha_ery time, he was apparently paying _court_ to this woman if nothing worse.
Heaven! Could anything like this really be? He was telling her that he love_er and making love to this Ruby at the same time. He was kissing and fondlin_er and Ruby too!! Was there ever such a situation? He, Eugene Witla, t_eceive her this way. No wonder he wanted to get rid of her when he came t_ew York. He would have treated her as he had this Ruby. And Christina! Thi_hristina!! Where was she? Who was she? What was she doing now? She jumped u_repared to go to Eugene and charge him with his iniquities, but remembere_hat he was out of the studio—that he had gone for a walk. He was sick now, very sick. Would she dare to reproach him with these reprehensible episodes?
She came back to the trunk where she was working and sat down. Her eyes wer_ard and cold for the time, but at the same time there was a touch of terro_nd of agonized affection. A face that, in the ordinary lines of its repose, was very much like that of a madonna, was now drawn and peaked and gray.
Apparently Christina had forsaken him, or it might be that they stil_orresponded secretly. She got up again at that thought. Still the letter_ere old. It looked as though all communication had ceased two years ago. Wha_ad he written to her?—love notes. Letters full of wooing phrases such as h_ad written to her. Oh, the instability of men, the insincerity, the lack o_esponsibility and sense of duty. Her father,—what a different man he was; he_rothers,—their word was their bond. And here was she married to a man who, even in the days of his most ardent wooing, had been deceiving her. She ha_et him lead her astray, too,—disgrace her own home. Tears came after a while, hot, scalding tears that seared her cheeks. And now she was married to him an_e was sick and she would have to make the best of it. She wanted to make th_est of it, for after all she loved him.
But oh, the cruelty, the insincerity, the unkindness, the brutality of it all.
The fact that Eugene was out for several hours following her discovery gav_er ample time to reflect as to a suitable course of action. Being s_mpressed by the genius of the man, as imposed upon her by the opinion o_thers and her own affection, she could not readily think of anything sav_ome method of ridding her soul of this misery and him of his evil tendencies, of making him ashamed of his wretched career, of making him see how badly h_ad treated her and how sorry he ought to be. She wanted him to feel sorry, very sorry, so that he would be a long time repenting in suffering, but sh_eared at the same time that she could not make him do that. He was s_thereal, so indifferent, so lost in the contemplation of life that he coul_ot be made to think of her. That was her one complaint. He had other god_efore her—the god of his art, the god of nature, the god of people as _pectacle. Frequently she had complained to him in this last year—"you don'_ove me! you don't love me!" but he would answer, "oh, yes I do. I can't b_alking to you all the time, Angel-face. I have work to do. My art has to b_ultivated. I can't be making love all the time."
"Oh, it isn't that, it isn't that!" she would exclaim passionately. "You jus_on't love me, like you ought to. You just don't care. If you did I'd fee_t."
"Oh, Angela," he answered, "why do you talk so? Why do you carry on so? You'r_he funniest girl I ever knew. Now be reasonable. Why don't you bring a littl_hilosophy to bear? We can't be billing and cooing all the time!"
"Billing and cooing! That's the way you think of it. That's the way you tal_f it! As though it were something you had to do. Oh, I hate love! I hat_ife! I hate philosophy! I wish I could die."
"Now, Angela, for Heaven's sake, why will you take on so? I can't stand this.
I can't stand these tantrums of yours. They're not reasonable. You know I lov_ou. Why, haven't I shown it? Why should I have married you if I didn't? _asn't obliged to marry you!"
"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" Angela would sob on, wringing her hands. "Oh, you reall_on't love me! You don't care! And it will go on this way, getting worse an_orse, with less and less of love and feeling until after awhile you won'_ven want to see me any more—you'll hate me! Oh, dear! oh, dear!"
Eugene felt keenly the pathos involved in this picture of decaying love. I_act, her fear of the disaster which might overtake her little bark o_appiness was sufficiently well founded. It might be that his affection woul_ease—it wasn't even affection now in the true sense of the word,—a passionat_ntellectual desire for her companionship. He never had really loved her fo_er mind, the beauty of her thoughts. As he meditated he realized that he ha_ever reached an understanding with her by an intellectual process at all. I_as emotional, subconscious, a natural drawing together which was not based o_eason and spirituality of contemplation apparently, but on grosser emotion_nd desires. Physical desire had been involved—strong, raging, uncontrollable.
And for some reason he had always felt sorry for her—he always had. She was s_ittle, so conscious of disaster, so afraid of life and what it might do t_er. It was a shame to wreck her hopes and desires. At the same time he wa_orry now for this bondage he had let himself into—this yoke which he had pu_bout his neck. He could have done so much better. He might have married _oman of wealth or a woman with artistic perceptions and philosophic insigh_ike Christina Channing, who would be peaceful and happy with him. Angel_ouldn't be. He really didn't admire her enough, couldn't fuss over he_nough. Even while he was soothing her in these moments, trying to make he_elieve that there was no basis for her fears, sympathizing with he_ubconscious intuitions that all was not well, he was thinking of ho_ifferent his life might have been.
"It won't end that way," he would soothe. "Don't cry. Come now, don't cry.
We're going to be very happy. I'm going to love you always, just as I'm lovin_ou now, and you're going to love me. Won't that be all right? Come on, now.
Cheer up. Don't be so pessimistic. Come on, Angela. Please do. Please!"
Angela would brighten after a time, but there were spells of apprehension an_loom; they were common, apt to burst forth like a summer storm when neithe_f them was really expecting it.
The discovery of these letters now checked the feeling, with which she trie_o delude herself at times, that there might be anything more than kindnes_ere. They confirmed her suspicions that there was not and brought on tha_ense of defeat and despair which so often and so tragically overcame her. I_id it at a time, too, when Eugene needed her undivided consideration an_eeling, for he was in a wretched state of mind. To have her quarrel with hi_ow, lose her temper, fly into rages and compel him to console her, was ver_rying. He was in no mood for it; could not very well endure it without injur_o himself. He was seeking for an atmosphere of joyousness, wishing to find _heerful optimism somewhere which would pull him out of himself and make hi_hole. Not infrequently he dropped in to see Norma Whitmore, Isadora Crane, who was getting along very well on the stage, Hedda Andersen, who had _atural charm of intellect with much vivacity, even though she was a model, and now and then Miriam Finch. The latter was glad to see him alone, almost a_ testimony against Angela, though she would not go out of her way to concea_rom Angela the fact that he had been there. The others, though he sai_othing, assumed that since Angela did not come with him he wanted nothin_aid and observed his wish. They were inclined to think that he had made _atrimonial mistake and was possibly artistically or intellectually lonely.
All of them noted his decline in health with considerate apprehension an_orrow. It was too bad, they thought, if his health was going to fail him jus_t this time. Eugene lived in fear lest Angela should become aware of any o_hese visits. He thought he could not tell her because in the first place sh_ould resent his not having taken her with him; and in the next, if he ha_roposed it first, she would have objected, or set another date, or aske_ointless questions. He liked the liberty of going where he pleased, sayin_othing, not feeling it necessary to say anything. He longed for the freedo_f his old pre-matrimonial days. Just at this time, because he could not wor_rtistically and because he was in need of diversion and of joyous artisti_alaver, he was especially miserable. Life seemed very dark and ugly.
Eugene, returning and feeling, as usual, depressed about his state, sought t_ind consolation in her company. He came in at one o'clock, their usual lunc_our, and finding Angela still working, said, "George! but you like to keep a_hings when you get started, don't you? You're a regular little work-horse.
Having much trouble?"
"No-o," replied Angela, dubiously.
Eugene noted the tone of her voice. He thought she was not very strong an_his packing was getting on her nerves. Fortunately there were only som_runks to look after, for the vast mass of their housekeeping material_elonged to the studio. Still no doubt she was weary.
"Are you very tired?" he asked.
"No-o," she replied.
"You look it," he said, slipping his arm about her. Her face, which he turne_p with his hand, was pale and drawn.
"It isn't anything physical," she replied, looking away from him in a tragi_ay. "It's just my heart. It's here!" and she laid her hand over her heart.
"What's the matter now?" he asked, suspecting something emotional, though fo_he life of him he could not imagine what. "Does your heart hurt you?"
"It isn't my real heart," she returned, "it's just my mind, my feelings; though I don't suppose they ought to matter."
"What's the matter now, Angel-face," he persisted, for he was sorry for her.
This emotional ability of hers had the power to move him. It might have bee_cting, or it might not have been. It might be either a real or a fancie_oe;—in either case it was real to her. "What's come up?" he continued.
"Aren't you just tired? Suppose we quit this and go out somewhere and ge_omething to eat. You'll feel better."
"No, I couldn't eat," she replied. "I'll stop now and get your lunch, but _on't want anything."
"Oh, what's the matter, Angela?" he begged. "I know there's something. No_hat is it? You're tired, or you're sick, or something has happened. Is i_nything that I have done? Look at me! Is it?"
Angela held away from him, looking down. She did not know how to begin thi_ut she wanted to make him terribly sorry if she could, as sorry as she wa_or herself. She thought he ought to be; that if he had any true feeling o_hame and sympathy in him he would be. Her own condition in the face of hi_hameless past was terrible. She had no one to love her. She had no one t_urn to. Her own family did not understand her life any more—it had change_o. She was a different woman now, greater, more important, mor_istinguished. Her experiences with Eugene here in New York, in Paris, i_ondon and even before her marriage, in Chicago and Blackwood, had changed he_oint of view. She was no longer the same in her ideas, she thought, and t_ind herself deserted in this way emotionally—not really loved, not eve_aving been really loved but just toyed with, made a doll and a plaything, wa_errible.
"Oh, dear!" she exclaimed in a shrill staccato, "I don't know what to do! _on't know what to say! I don't know what to think! If I only knew how t_hink or what to do!"
"What's the matter?" begged Eugene, releasing his hold and turning hi_houghts partially to himself and his own condition as well as to hers. Hi_erves were put on edge by these emotional tantrums—his brain fairly ached. I_ade his hands tremble. In his days of physical and nervous soundness it di_ot matter, but now, when he was sick, when his own heart was weak, as h_ancied, and his nerves set to jangling by the least discord, it was almos_ore than he could bear. "Why don't you speak?" he insisted. "You know I can'_tand this. I'm in no condition. What's the trouble? What's the use o_arrying on this way? Are you going to tell me?"
"There!" Angela said, pointing her finger at the box of letters she had lai_side on the window-sill. She knew he would see them, would remember instantl_hat they were about.
Eugene looked. The box came to his memory instantly. He picked it u_ervously, sheepishly, for this was like a blow in the face which he had n_ower to resist. The whole peculiar nature of his transactions with Ruby an_ith Christina came back to him, not as they had looked to him at the time, but as they were appearing to Angela now. What must she think of him? Here h_as protesting right along that he loved her, that he was happy and satisfie_o live with her, that he was not interested in any of these other women who_he knew to be interested in him and of whom she was inordinately jealous, that he had always loved her and her only, and yet here were these letter_uddenly come to light, giving the lie to all these protestations an_sseverations—making him look like the coward, the blackguard, the moral thie_hat he knew himself to be. To be dragged out of the friendly darkness of lac_f knowledge and understanding on her part and set forth under the clear whit_ight of positive proof—he stared helplessly, his nerves trembling, his brai_ching, for truly he was in no condition for an emotional argument.
And yet Angela was crying now. She had walked away from him and was leanin_gainst the mantel-piece sobbing as if her heart would break. There was a rea_onvincing ache in the sound—the vibration expressing the sense of loss an_efeat and despair which she felt. He was staring at the box wondering why h_ad been such an idiot as to leave them in his trunk, to have saved them a_ll.
"Well, I don't know that there is anything to say to that," he observe_inally, strolling over to where she was. There wasn't anything that he coul_ay—that he knew. He was terribly sorry—sorry for her, sorry for himself. "Di_ou read them all?" he asked, curiously.
She nodded her head in the affirmative.
"Well, I didn't care so much for Christina Channing," he observed, deprecatingly. He wanted to say something, anything which would relieve he_epressed mood. He knew it couldn't be much. If he could only make her believ_hat there wasn't anything vital in either of these affairs, that hi_nterests and protestations had been of a light, philandering character. Stil_he Ruby Kenny letter showed that she cared for him desperately. He could no_ay anything against Ruby.
Angela caught the name of Christina Channing clearly. It seared itself in he_rain. She recalled now that it was she of whom she had heard him speak in _omplimentary way from time to time. He had told in studios of what a lovel_oice she had, what a charming platform presence she had, how she could sin_o feelingly, how intelligently she looked upon life, how good looking sh_as, how she was coming back to grand opera some day. And he had been in th_ountains with her—had made love to her while she, Angela, was out i_lackwood waiting for him patiently. It aroused on the instant all th_ighting jealousy that was in her breast; it was the same jealousy that ha_etermined her once before to hold him in spite of the plotting and schemin_hat appeared to her to be going on about her. They should not have him—thes_asty studio superiorities—not any one of them, nor all of them combined, i_hey were to unite and try to get him. They had treated her shamefully sinc_he had been in the East. They had almost uniformly ignored her. They woul_ome to see Eugene, of course, and now that he was famous they could not b_oo nice to him, but as for her—well, they had no particular use for her.
Hadn't she seen it! Hadn't she watched the critical, hypocritical, examinin_xpressions in their eyes! She wasn't smart enough! She wasn't literary enoug_r artistic enough. She knew as much about life as they did and more—ten time_s much; and yet because she couldn't strut and pose and stare and talk in a_ffected voice they thought themselves superior. And so did Eugene, th_retched creature! Superior! The cheap, mean, nasty, selfish upstarts! Why, the majority of them had nothing. Their clothes were mere rags and tags, whe_ou came to examine them closely—badly sewed, of poor material, merely slun_ogether, and yet they wore them with such a grand air! She would show them.
She would dress herself too, one of these days, when Eugene had the means. Sh_as doing it now—a great deal more than when she first came, and she would d_t a great deal more before long. The nasty, mean, cheap, selfish, make-belie_hings. She would show them! O-oh! how she hated them.
Now as she cried she also thought of the fact that Eugene could write lov_etters to this horrible Christina Channing—one of the same kind, no doubt; her letters showed it. O-oh! how she hated her! If she could only get at he_o poison her. And her sobs sounded much more of the sorrow she felt than o_he rage. She was helpless in a way and she knew it. She did not dare to sho_im exactly what she felt. She was afraid of him. He might possibly leave her.
He really did not care for her enough to stand everything from her—or did he?
This doubt was the one terrible, discouraging, annihilating feature of th_hole thing—if he only cared.
"I wish you wouldn't cry, Angela," said Eugene appealingly, after a time. "I_sn't as bad as you think. It looks pretty bad, but I wasn't married then, an_ didn't care so very much for these people—not as much as you think; really _idn't. It may look that way to you, but I didn't."
"Didn't care!" sneered Angela, all at once, flaring up. "Didn't care! It look_s though you didn't care, with one of them calling you Honey Boy and Adonis, and the other saying she wishes she were dead. A fine time you'd hav_onvincing anyone that you didn't care. And I out in Blackwood at that ver_ime, longing and waiting for you to come, and you up in the mountains makin_ove to another woman. Oh, I know how much you cared. You showed how much yo_ared when you could leave me out there to wait for you eating my heart ou_hile you were off in the mountains having a good time with another woman.
'Dear E—,' and 'Precious Honey Boy,' and 'Adonis'! That shows how much yo_ared, doesn't it!"
Eugene stared before him helplessly. Her bitterness and wrath surprised an_rritated him. He did not know that she was capable of such an awful rage a_howed itself in her face and words at this moment, and yet he did not kno_ut that she was well justified. Why so bitter though—so almost brutal? He wa_ick. Had she no consideration for him?
"I tell you it wasn't as bad as you think," he said stolidly, showing for th_irst time a trace of temper and opposition. "I wasn't married then. I di_ike Christina Channing; I did like Ruby Kenny. What of it? I can't help i_ow. What am I going to say about it? What do you want me to say? What do yo_ant me to do?"
"Oh," whimpered Angela, changing her tone at once from helpless accusing rag_o pleading, self-commiserating misery. "And you can stand there and say to me
'what of it'? What of it! What of it! What shall you say? What do you thin_ou ought to say? And me believing that you were so honorable and faithful!
Oh, if I had only known! If I had only known! I had better have drowned mysel_ hundred times over than have waked and found that I wasn't loved. Oh, dear, oh, dear! I don't know what I ought to do! I don't know what I can do!"
"But I do love you," protested Eugene soothingly, anxious to say or d_nything which would quiet this terrific storm. He could not imagine how h_ould have been so foolish as to leave these letters lying around. Dea_eaven! What a mess he had made of this! If only he had put them safel_utside the home or destroyed them. Still he had wanted to keep Christina'_etters; they were so charming.
"Yes, you love me!" flared Angela. "I see how you love me. Those letters sho_t! Oh, dear! oh, dear! I wish I were dead."
"Listen to me, Angela," replied Eugene desperately, "I know thi_orrespondence looks bad. I did make love to Miss Kenny and to Christin_hanning, but you see I didn't care enough to marry either of them. If I had _ould have. I cared for you. Believe it or not. I married you. Why did I marr_ou? Answer me that? I needn't have married you. Why did I? Because I love_ou, of course. What other reason could I have?"
"Because you couldn't get Christina Channing," snapped Angela, angrily, wit_he intuitive sense of one who reasons from one material fact to another,
"that's why. If you could have, you would have. I know it. Her letters sho_t."
"Her letters don't show anything of the sort," returned Eugene angrily. "_ouldn't get her? I could have had her, easily enough. I didn't want her. If _ad wanted her, I would have married her—you can bet on that."
He hated himself for lying in this way, but he felt for the time being that h_ad to do it. He did not care to stand in the rôle of a jilted lover. He half- fancied that he could have married Christina if he had really tried.
"Anyhow," he said, "I'm not going to argue that point with you. I didn't marr_er, so there you are; and I didn't marry Ruby Kenny either. Well you ca_hink all you want; but I know. I cared for them, but I didn't marry them. _arried you instead. I ought to get credit for something on that score. _arried you because I loved you, I suppose. That's perfectly plain, isn't it?"
He was half convincing himself that he had loved her—in some degree.
"Yes, I see how you love me," persisted Angela, cogitating this very peculia_act which he was insisting on and which it was very hard intellectually t_vercome. "You married me because you couldn't very well get out of it, that'_hy. Oh, I know. You didn't want to marry me. That's very plain. You wanted t_arry someone else. Oh, dear! oh, dear!"
"Oh, how you talk!" replied Eugene defiantly. "Marry someone else! Who did _ant to marry? I could have married often enough if I had wanted to. I didn'_ant to marry, that's all. Believe it or not. I wanted to marry you and I did.
I don't think you have any right to stand there and argue so. What you sa_sn't so, and you know it."
Angela cogitated this argument further. He had married her! Why had he? H_ight have cared for Christina and Ruby, but he must have cared for her too.
Why hadn't she thought of that? There was something in it—something besides _ere desire to deceive her. Perhaps he did care for her a little. Anyway i_as plain that she could not get very far by arguing with him—he was gettin_tubborn, argumentative, contentious. She had not seen him that way before.
"Oh!" she sobbed, taking refuge from this very difficult realm of logic in th_afer and more comfortable one of illogical tears. "I don't know what to do! _on't know what to think!"
She was badly treated, no doubt of that. Her life was a failure, but even s_here was some charm about him. As he stood there, looking aimlessly around, defiant at one moment, appealing at another, she could not help seeing that h_as not wholly bad. He was just weak on this one point. He loved pretty women.
They were always trying to win him to them. He was probably not wholly t_lame. If he would only be repentant enough, this thing might be allowed t_low over. It couldn't be forgiven. She never could forgive him for the way h_ad deceived her. Her ideal of him had been pretty hopelessly shattered—bu_he might live with him on probation.
"Angela!" he said, while she was still sobbing, and feeling that he ought t_pologize to her. "Won't you believe me? Won't you forgive me? I don't like t_ear you cry this way. There's no use saying that I didn't do anything.
There's no use my saying anything at all, really. You won't believe me. _on't want you to; but I'm sorry. Won't you believe that? Won't you forgiv_e?"
Angela listened to this curiously, her thoughts going around in a ring for sh_as at once despairing, regretful, revengeful, critical, sympathetic towar_im, desirous of retaining her state, desirous of obtaining and retaining hi_ove, desirous of punishing him, desirous of doing any one of a hundre_hings. Oh, if he had only never done this! And he was sickly, too. He neede_er sympathy.
"Won't you forgive me, Angela?" he pleaded softly, laying his hand on her arm.
"I'm not going to do anything like that any more. Won't you believe me? Com_n now. Quit crying, won't you?"
Angela hesitated for a while, lingering dolefully. She did not know what t_o, what to say. It might be that he would not sin against her any more. H_ad not thus far, in so far as she knew. Still this was a terrible revelation.
All at once, because he manœuvred himself into a suitable position and becaus_he herself was weary of fighting and crying, and because she was longing fo_ympathy, she allowed herself to be pulled into his arms, her head to hi_houlder, and there she cried more copiously than ever. Eugene for the momen_elt terribly grieved. He was really sorry for her. It wasn't right. He ough_o be ashamed of himself. He should never have done anything like that.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, "really I am. Won't you forgive me?"
"Oh, I don't know what to do! what to think!" moaned Angela after a time.
"Please do, Angela," he urged, holding her questioningly.
There was more of this pleading and emotional badgering until finally out o_heer exhaustion Angela said yes. Eugene's nerves were worn to a thread by th_ncounter. He was pale, exhausted, distraught. Many scenes like this, h_hought, would set him crazy; and still he had to go through a world o_etting and love-making even now. It was not easy to bring her back to he_ormal self. It was bad business, this philandering, he thought. It seemed t_ead to all sorts of misery for him, and Angela was jealous. Dear Heaven! wha_ wrathful, vicious, contentious nature she had when she was aroused. He ha_ever suspected that. How could he truly love her when she acted like that?
How could he sympathize with her? He recalled how she sneered at him—how sh_aunted him with Christina's having discarded him. He was weary, excited, desirous of rest and sleep, but now he must make more love. He fondled her, and by degrees she came out of her blackest mood; but he was not reall_orgiven even then. He was just understood better. And she was not truly happ_gain but only hopeful—and watchful.