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Chapter 28

  • The hells of love are bitter and complete. There were days after that when sh_atched him, followed him down the pleasant lane from the house to the water'_dge, slipping out unceremoniously after he had gone not more than eigh_undred feet. She watched the bridge at Riverwood at one and six, expectin_hat Eugene and his paramour might meet there. It just happened that Carlott_as compelled to leave town for ten days with her husband, and so Eugene wa_afe. On two occasions he went downtown—into the heart of the great city, anxious to get a breath of the old life that so fascinated him, and Angel_ollowed him only to lose track of him quickly. He did nothing evil, however, merely walked, wondering what Miriam Finch and Christina Channing and Norm_hitmore were doing these days and what they were thinking of him in his lon_bsence. Of all the people he had known, he had only seen Norma Whitmore onc_nd that was not long after he returned to New York. He had given her _arbled explanation of his illness, stated that he was going to work now an_roposed to come and see her. He did his best to avoid observation, however, for he dreaded explaining the reason of his non-productive condition. Miria_inch was almost glad that he had failed, since he had treated her so badly.
  • Christina Channing was in opera, as he quickly discovered, for he saw her nam_lazoned one day the following November in the newspapers. She was a star o_hose talent great hopes were entertained, and was interested almos_xclusively in her career. She was to sing in "Bohème" and "Rigoletto."
  • Another thing, fortunate for Eugene at this time, was that he changed hi_ork. There came to the shop one day an Irish foreman, Timothy Deegan, maste_f a score of "guineas," as he called the Italian day laborers who worked fo_im, who took Eugene's fancy greatly. He was of medium height, thick of bod_nd neck, with a cheerful, healthy red face, a keen, twinkling gray eye, an_tiff, closely cropped gray hair and mustache. He had come to lay th_oundation for a small dynamo in the engine room at Speonk, which was t_upply the plant with light in case of night work, and a car of his had bee_acked in, a tool car, full of boards, barrows, mortar boards, picks an_hovels. Eugene was amused and astonished at his insistent, defiant attitud_nd the brisk manner in which he was handing out orders to his men.
  • "Come, Matt! Come, Jimmie! Get the shovels now! Get the picks!" he heard hi_hout. "Bring some sand here! Bring some stone! Where's the cement now?
  • Where's the cement? Jasus Christ! I must have some cement. What arre ye al_oing? Hurry now, hurry! Bring the cement."
  • "Well, he knows how to give orders," commented Eugene to Big John, who wa_tanding near. "He certainly does," replied the latter.
  • To himself Eugene observed, hearing only the calls at first, "the Iris_rute." Later he discovered a subtle twinkle in Deegan's eyes as he stoo_razenly in the door, looking defiantly about. There was no brutality in it, only self-confidence and a hearty Irish insistence on the necessity of th_our.
  • "Well, you're a dandy!" commented Eugene boldly after a time, and laughed.
  • "Ha! ha! ha!" mocked Deegan in return. "If you had to work as harred as thes_en you wouldn't laugh."
  • "I'm not laughing at them. I'm laughing at you," explained Eugene.
  • "Laugh," said Deegan. "Shure you're as funny to me as I am to you."
  • Eugene laughed again. The Irishman agreed with himself that there was humor i_t. He laughed too. Eugene patted his big rough shoulder with his hands an_hey were friends immediately. It did not take Deegan long to find out fro_ig John why he was there and what he was doing.
  • "An arrtist!" he commented. "Shewer he'd better be outside than in. The loike_f him packin' shavin's and him laughin' at me."
  • Big John smiled.
  • "I believe he wants to get outside," he said.
  • "Why don't he come with me, then? He'd have a foine time workin' with th_uineas. Shewer 'twould make a man av him—a few months of that"—and he pointe_o Angelo Esposito shoveling clay.
  • Big John thought this worth reporting to Eugene. He did not think that h_anted to work with the guineas, but he might like to be with Deegan. Eugen_aw his opportunity. He liked Deegan.
  • "Would you like to have an artist who's looking for health come and work fo_ou, Deegan?" Eugene asked genially. He thought Deegan might refuse, but i_idn't matter. It was worth the trial.
  • "Shewer!" replied the latter.
  • "Will I have to work with the Italians?"
  • "There'll be plenty av work for ye to do without ever layin' yer hand to pic_r shovel unless ye want to. Shewer that's no work fer a white man to do."
  • "And what do you call them, Deegan? Aren't they white?"
  • "Shewer they're naat."
  • "What are they, then? They're not black."
  • "Nagurs, of coorse."
  • "But they're not negroes."
  • "Will, begad, they're naat white. Any man kin tell that be lookin' at thim."
  • Eugene smiled. He understood at once the solid Irish temperament which coul_raw this hearty conclusion. There was no malice in it. Deegan did no_nderestimate these Italians. He liked his men, but they weren't white. H_idn't know what they were exactly, but they weren't white. He was standin_ver them a moment later shouting, "Up with it! Up with it! Down with it! Dow_ith it!" as though his whole soul were intent on driving the last scrap o_trength out of these poor underlings, when as a matter of fact they were no_orking very hard at all. His glance was roving about in a general way as h_elled and they paid little attention to him. Once in a while he woul_nterpolate a "Come, Matt!" in a softer key—a key so soft that it was entirel_ut of keeping with his other voice. Eugene saw it all clearly. He understoo_eegan.
  • "I think I'll get Mr. Haverford to transfer me to you, if you'll let me come,"
  • he said at the close of the day when Deegan was taking off his overalls an_he "Eyetalians," as he called them, were putting the things back in the car.
  • "Shewer!" said Deegan, impressed by the great name of Haverford. If Eugen_ould accomplish that through such a far-off, wondrous personality, he must b_ remarkable man himself. "Come along. I'll be glad to have ye. Ye can jus_ake out the O. K. blanks and the repoarts and watch over the min sich time_s I'll naat be there and—well—all told, ye'll have enough to keep ye busy."
  • Eugene smiled. This was a pleasant prospect. Big John had told him during th_orning that Deegan went up and down the road from Peekskill on the main line, Chatham on the Midland Division, and Mt. Kisco on a third branch to New Yor_ity. He built wells, culverts, coal bins, building piers—small bric_uildings—anything and everything, in short, which a capable foreman-maso_ught to be able to build, and in addition he was fairly content and happy i_is task. Eugene could see it. The atmosphere of the man was wholesome. He wa_ike a tonic—a revivifying dynamo to this sickly overwrought sentimentalist.
  • That night he went home to Angela full of the humor and romance of his ne_ituation. He liked the idea of it. He wanted to tell her about Deegan—to mak_er laugh. He was destined unfortunately to another kind of reception.
  • For Angela, by this time, had endured the agony of her discovery to th_reaking point. She had listened to his pretences, knowing them to be lies, until she could endure it no longer. In following him she had discovere_othing, and the change in his work would make the chase more difficult. I_as scarcely possible for anyone to follow him, for he himself did not kno_here he would be from day to day. He would be here, there, and everywhere.
  • His sense of security as well as of his unfairness made him sensitive abou_eing nice in the unimportant things. When he thought at all he was ashamed o_hat he was doing—thoroughly ashamed. Like the drunkard he appeared to b_astered by his weakness, and the psychology of his attitude is so bes_nterpreted. He caressed her sympathetically, for he thought from her drawn, weary look that she was verging on some illness. She appeared to him to b_uffering from worry for him, overwork, or approaching malady.
  • But Eugene in spite of his unfaithfulness did sympathize with Angela greatly.
  • He appreciated her good qualities—her truthfulness, economy, devotion an_elf-sacrifice in all things which related to him. He was sorry that his ow_earning for freedom crossed with her desire for simple-minded devotion on hi_art. He could not love her as she wanted him to, that he knew, and yet he wa_t times sorry for it, very. He would look at her when she was not looking a_im, admiring her industry, her patience, her pretty figure, her geniality i_he face of many difficulties, and wish that she could have had a better fat_han to have met and married him.
  • Because of these feelings on his part for her he could not bear to see he_uffer. When she appeared to be ill he could not help drawing near to her, wanting to know how she was, endeavoring to make her feel better by thos_ympathetic, emotional demonstrations which he knew meant so much to her. O_his particular evening, noting the still drawn agony of her face, he wa_oved to insist. "What's the matter with you, Angelface, these days? You loo_o tired. You're not right. What's troubling you?"
  • "Oh, nothing," replied Angela wearily.
  • "But I know there is," he replied. "You can't be feeling well. What's ailin_ou? You're not like yourself at all. Won't you tell me, sweet? What's th_rouble?"
  • He was thinking because Angela said nothing that it must be a real physica_llness. Any emotional complaint vented itself quickly.
  • "Why should you care?" she asked cautiously, breaking her self-imposed vow o_ilence. She was thinking that Eugene and this woman, whoever she was, wer_onspiring to defeat her and that they were succeeding. Her voice had change_rom one of weary resignation to subtle semi-concealed complaint and offense, and Eugene noted it. Before she could add any more, he had observed, "Wh_houldn't I? Why, how you talk! What's the matter now?"
  • Angela really did not intend to go on. Her query was dragged out of her by hi_bvious sympathy. He was sorry for her in some general way. It made her pai_nd wrath all the greater. And his additional inquiry irritated her the more.
  • "Why should you?" she asked weepingly. "You don't want me. You don't like me.
  • You pretend sympathy when I look a little bad, but that's all. But you don'_are for me. If you could get rid of me, you would. That is so plain."
  • "Why, what are you talking about?" he asked, astonished. Had she found ou_nything? Was the incident of the scraps of paper really closed? Had anybod_een telling her anything about Carlotta? Instantly he was all at sea. Stil_e had to pretend.
  • "You know I care," he said. "How can you say that?"
  • "You don't. You know you don't!" she flared up suddenly. "Why do you lie? Yo_on't care. Don't touch me. Don't come near me. I'm sick of your hypocritica_retences! Oh!" And she straightened up with her finger nails cutting into he_alms.
  • Eugene at the first expression of disbelief on her part had laid his han_oothingly on her arm. That was why she had jumped away from him. Now he dre_ack, nonplussed, nervous, a little defiant. It was easier to combat rage tha_orrow; but he did not want to do either.
  • "What's the matter with you?" he asked, assuming a look of bewildere_nnocence. "What have I done now?"
  • "What haven't you done, you'd better ask. You dog! You coward!" flared Angela.
  • "Leaving me to stay out in Wisconsin while you go running around with _hameless woman. Don't deny it! Don't dare to deny it!"—this apropos of _rotesting movement on the part of Eugene's head—"I know all! I know more tha_ want to know. I know how you've been acting. I know what you've been doing.
  • I know how you've been lying to me. You've been running around with a low, vile wretch of a woman while I have been staying out in Blackwood eating m_eart out, that's what you've been doing. Dear Angela! Dear Angelface! Dea_adonna Doloroso! Ha! What have you been calling her, you lying, hypocritica_oward! What names have you for her, Hypocrite! Brute! Liar! I know wha_ou've been doing. Oh, how well I know! Why was I ever born?—oh, why, why?"
  • Her voice trailed off in a wail of agony. Eugene stood there astonished to th_oint of inefficiency. He could not think of a single thing to do or say. H_ad no idea upon what evidence she based her complaint. He fancied that i_ust be much more than had been contained in that little note which he ha_orn up. She had not seen that—of that he was reasonably sure—or was he? Coul_he have taken it out of the box while he was in the bath and then put it bac_gain? This sounded like it. She had looked very bad that night. How much di_he know? Where had she secured this information? Mrs. Hibberdell? Carlotta?
  • No! Had she seen her? Where? When?
  • "You're talking through your hat," he said aimlessly and largely in order t_et time. "You're crazy! What's got into you, anyhow? I haven't been doin_nything of the sort."
  • "Oh, haven't you!" she sneered. "You haven't been meeting her at bridges an_oad houses and street cars, have you? You liar! You haven't been calling her
  • 'Ashes of Roses' and 'River Nymph' and 'Angel Girl.'" Angela was making u_ames and places out of her own mind. "I suppose you used some of the pe_ames on her that you gave to Christina Channing, didn't you? She'd lik_hose, the vile strumpet! And you, you dog, pretending to me—pretendin_ympathy, pretending loneliness, pretending sorrow that I couldn't be here! _ot you cared what I was doing or thinking or suffering. Oh, I hate you, yo_orrible coward! I hate her! I hope something terrible happens to you. If _ould get at her now I would kill her and you both—and myself. I would! I wis_ could die! I wish I could die!"
  • Eugene was beginning to get the measure of his iniquity as Angela interprete_t. He could see now how cruelly he had hurt her. He could see now how vil_hat he was doing looked in her eyes. It was bad business—running with othe_omen—no doubt of it. It always ended in something like this—a terrible stor_n which he had to sit by and hear himself called brutal names to which ther_as no legitimate answer. He had heard of this in connection with othe_eople, but he had never thought it would come to him. And the worst of it wa_hat he was guilty and deserving of it. No doubt of that. It lowered him i_is own estimation. It lowered her in his and her own because she had to figh_his way. Why did he do it? Why did he drag her into such a situation? It wa_reaking down that sense of pride in himself which was the only sustainin_ower a man had before the gaze of the world. Why did he let himself int_hese situations? Did he really love Carlotta? Did he want pleasure enough t_ndure such abuse as this? This was a terrible scene. And where would it end?
  • His nerves were tingling, his brain fairly aching. If he could only conque_his desire for another type and be faithful, and yet how dreadful tha_eemed! To confine himself in all his thoughts to just Angela! It was no_ossible. He thought of these things, standing there enduring the brunt o_his storm. It was a terrible ordeal, but it was not wholly reformatory eve_t that.
  • "What's the use of your carrying on like that, Angela?" he said grimly, afte_e had listened to all this. "It isn't as bad as you think. I'm not a liar, and I'm not a dog! You must have pieced that note I threw in the paper bo_ogether and read it. When did you do it?"
  • He was curious about that and about how much she knew. What were he_ntentions in regard to him? What in regard to Carlotta? What would she d_ext?
  • "When did I do it?" she replied. "When did I do it? What has that to do wit_t? What right have you to ask? Where is this woman, that's what I want t_now? I want to find her. I want to face her. I want to tell her what _retched beast she is. I'll show her how to come and steal another woman'_usband. I'll kill her. I'll kill her and I'll kill you, too. Do you hear?
  • I'll kill you!" And she advanced on him defiantly, blazingly.
  • Eugene was astounded. He had never seen such rage in any woman. It wa_onderful, fascinating, something like a great lightning-riven storm. Angel_as capable of hurling thunderbolts of wrath. He had not known that. It raise_er in his estimation—made her really more attractive than she would otherwis_ave been, for power, however displayed, is fascinating. She was so little, s_rim, so determined! It was in its way a test of great capability. And h_iked her for it even though he resented her abuse.
  • "No, no, Angela," he said sympathetically and with a keen wish to alleviat_er sorrow. "You would not do anything like that. You couldn't!"
  • "I will! I will!" she declared. "I'll kill her and you, too!"
  • And then having reached this tremendous height she suddenly broke. Eugene'_ig, sympathetic understanding was after all too much for her. His broodin_atience in the midst of her wrath, his innate sorrow for what he could not o_ould not help (it was written all over his face), his very obviou_resentation of the fact by his attitude that he knew that she loved him i_pite of this, was too much for her. It was like beating her hands against _tone. She might kill him and this woman, whoever she was, but she would no_ave changed his attitude toward her, and that was what she wanted. A grea_orrent of heart-breaking sobs broke from her, shaking her frame like a reed.
  • She threw her arms and head upon the kitchen table, falling to her knees, an_ried and cried. Eugene stood there contemplating the wreck he had made of he_reams. Certainly it was hell, he said to himself; certainly it was. He was _iar, as she said, a dog, a scoundrel. Poor little Angela! Well, the damag_ad been done. What could he do now? Anything? Certainly not. Not a thing. Sh_as broken—heart-broken. There was no earthly remedy for that. Priests migh_hrive for broken laws, but for a broken heart what remedy was there?
  • "Angela!" he called gently. "Angela! I'm sorry! Don't cry! Angela!! Don'_ry!"
  • But she did not hear him. She did not hear anything. Lost in the agony of he_ituation, she could only sob convulsively until it seemed that her prett_ittle frame would break to pieces.