|• Main||• Contacts|
were, with wings of desire. The fact that it was her trusted friend
making illicit love to her remained, in spite of all her effort, an
insignificant thing in her mind. The music confused and distracted her,
and made her struggle against a feeling of intoxication. Her head swam.
That was the inconvenience of it; her head was swimming. The music
throbbed into the warnings that preceded the king's irruption.
Abruptly he gripped her wrist. "I love you, Ann Veronica. I love
you--with all my heart and soul."
She put her face closer to his. She felt the warm nearness of his.
"DON'T!" she said, and wrenched her wrist from his retaining hand.
"My God! Ann Veronica," he said, struggling to keep his hold upon her;
"my God! Tell me--tell me now--tell me you love me!"
His expression was as it were rapaciously furtive. She answered in
whispers, for there was the white arm of a woman in the next box peeping
beyond the partition within a yard of him.
"My hand! This isn't the place."
He released her hand and talked in eager undertones against an auditory
background of urgency and distress.
"Ann Veronica," he said, "I tell you this is love. I love the soles of
your feet. I love your very breath. I have tried not to tell you--tried
to be simply your friend. It is no good. I want you. I worship you. I
would do anything--I would give anything to make you mine.... Do you
hear me? Do you hear what I am saying?... Love!"
He held her arm and abandoned it again at her quick defensive movement.
For a long time neither spoke again.
She sat drawn together in her chair in the corner of the box, at a loss
what to say or do--afraid, curious, perplexed. It seemed to her that
it was her duty to get up and clamor to go home to her room, to protest
against his advances as an insult. But she did not in the least want
to do that. These sweeping dignities were not within the compass of her
will; she remembered she liked Ramage, and owed things to him, and she
was interested--she was profoundly interested. He was in love with
her! She tried to grasp all the welter of values in the situation
simultaneously, and draw some conclusion from their disorder.
He began to talk again in quick undertones that she could not clearly
"I have loved you," he was saying, "ever since you sat on that gate and
talked. I have always loved you. I don't care what divides us. I don't
care what else there is in the world. I want you beyond measure or
Page 5 from 7: Back 1 2 3 4  6 7 Forward