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His voice rose and fell amidst the music and the singing of Tristan and
King Mark, like a voice heard in a badly connected telephone. She stared
at his pleading face.
She turned to the stage, and Tristan was wounded in Kurvenal's arms,
with Isolde at his feet, and King Mark, the incarnation of masculine
force and obligation, the masculine creditor of love and beauty, stood
over him, and the second climax was ending in wreaths and reek of
melodies; and then the curtain was coming down in a series of short
rushes, the music had ended, and the people were stirring and breaking
out into applause, and the lights of the auditorium were resuming. The
lighting-up pierced the obscurity of the box, and Ramage stopped his
urgent flow of words abruptly and sat back. This helped to restore Ann
She turned her eyes to him again, and saw her late friend and pleasant
and trusted companion, who had seen fit suddenly to change into a lover,
babbling interesting inacceptable things. He looked eager and flushed
and troubled. His eyes caught at hers with passionate inquiries. "Tell
me," he said; "speak to me." She realized it was possible to be sorry
for him--acutely sorry for the situation. Of course this thing was
absolutely impossible. But she was disturbed, mysteriously disturbed.
She remembered abruptly that she was really living upon his money. She
leaned forward and addressed him.
"Mr. Ramage," she said, "please don't talk like this."
He made to speak and did not.
"I don't want you to do it, to go on talking to me. I don't want to hear
you. If I had known that you had meant to talk like this I wouldn't have
"But how can I help it? How can I keep silence?"
"Please!" she insisted. "Please not now."
"I MUST talk with you. I must say what I have to say!"
"But not now--not here."
"It came," he said. "I never planned it--And now I have begun--"
She felt acutely that he was entitled to explanations, and as acutely
that explanations were impossible that night. She wanted to think.
"Mr. Ramage," she said, "I can't--Not now. Will you please--Not now, or
I must go."
He stared at her, trying to guess at the mystery of her thoughts.
"You don't want to go?"
"No. But I must--I ought--"
"I MUST talk about this. Indeed I must."
"But I love you. I love you--unendurably."
"Then don't talk to me now. I don't want you to talk to me now. There is
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