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   Chapter 24 No.24

A Mummer's Wife By George Moore Characters: 33710

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


The passing of a funeral in our English streets is so common a sight that hearses and plumes and mutes and carriages filled with relatives garbed in crape have almost ceased to remind us that our dust too is on the way to the graveyard; and it is not until we catch sight of a man walking in the carriage way carrying a brown box under his arm that we start like someone suddenly stung and remember the mystery of life and death. Even Dick remembered it, and wondered as he plodded after little Kate's coffin why it was that she should have been called out of the void and called back into the void so quickly. 'Whether our term be but a month or ninety years, life and death beckon us but once,' he said, and he fell to envying Kate her tears, tears seeming to him more comforting than thoughts, and he would gladly have shed a few to help the journey away: not a long one, however, for the Lennoxes lived in an unfrequented part of the town by the cemetery.

'We shall soon be there,' he whispered, and Kate, raising her weeping face, looked round.

All the shops were filled with funeral emblems, wreaths of everlasting flowers, headstones with dates in indelible ink, crosses of consolation, and kneeling angels.

'If we only had money,' Kate cried, 'to buy a monument to put on her grave,' and she called upon Dick to admire a kneeling angel.

'It's very beautiful,' Dick said, 'I wish we had the money to buy it. Poor little Kate! it's a pity she didn't live; she was very like you, dear.'

He had been offered an engagement for Kate to play the part of the Countess in Olivette, and had accepted it, hoping in the meanwhile to be able to persuade her to take it. It was rather hard to ask her to play the day after the funeral, but there was no help for it. The company would arrive in town to-morrow, and Dick thought it would be a pity to let the chance slip. But her grief was so great that he had not dared to speak to her about it.

'Did you ever see so many graves?' she asked. 'We shall never be able to find her when we come to seek the grave out. An angel-a headstone, at least, would be a help. Oh, Dick, she continued, 'to think they'll put her down into the ground, and that we shall perhaps never even see her grave again. We may be a hundred miles from here tomorrow, or after.'

Dick, who had had credit of the undertaker, looked around uneasily; but seeing that Kate had not been overheard, he said:

'Poor little thing! It's sad to lose her, isn't it? I should have liked to have seen her grow up.'

The coffin was first deposited in the middle of the church, and Dick twisted the brim of his big hat nervously, troubled by the service the parson in a white flowing surplice read from the reading-desk. Kate, on the contrary, appeared much consoled, and prayed silently, and the parson mumbled so many prayers that Dick began to consider the time it would take to learn a part of equal length. And all this while the little brown box remained like a piece of lost luggage, lonely in the greyness of this station-house-looking church; and when the mutes came to claim it Kate again burst into tears. Her tears reminded the parson that he was here to console, and in soft and unctuous words he assured the weeping mother that her child had only been removed to a better and brighter world, and that we must all submit to the will of God. But in the porch his attention was drawn from the weeping mother to the weather. 'A little more of this' he thought, 'and others will be doing for me what I'm now doing for others.'

But there being no help for it, he followed the procession through the tombstones, his white surplice blowing, Dick wondering how the little grave had been found amongst so many, but the sexton knew. The parson sprinkled earth upon the coffin, and the sound of the withdrawn ropes cut the mother's heart even more than the rattle of the earth and stones on the coffin lid. Kate threw some flowers into the grave, and it seemed to Dick certain that if she didn't pull herself together she would not be able to play the Countess in Olivette on the morrow. She was so fearfully haggard and worn that he doubted if any amount of rouge would make her look the part.

He would have done anything in the world for his little girl while she was alive, but now that she was dead-Besides, after all, she was only a baby. For some time past this idea had occurred to him as an excellent argument to convince Kate that there was really no reason why she should not go to rehearsal on the following morning. If he had not yet spoken in this way it was only because he was afraid that she would round on him, and call him a heartless beast, and he would do anything to evade a sulky look; and now, when the funeral was over and they were walking home wet, sorrowful, and tired, it was curious to watch how he gave his arm to Kate, and the timidity with which he introduced the subject. At first he only spoke of himself, and his hopes of being able to obtain a better part and a higher salary in the new drama. But mention to a mummer who is lying on his death-bed that a new piece is going to be produced, and he will not be able to resist asking a question or two about it; and Kate, weary as she was, at once pricked up her ears, and said:

'Oh, they're going to do a new piece! You didn't tell me that before.'

'It was only decided last night,' replied Dick.

The spell was now broken, and when they reached home and had dinner the conversation was resumed in a strain that might be considered as being almost jovial after the mournful tones of the last few days. Dick felt as if a big weight had been lifted from his mind, and the thought again occurred to him that there was no use in making such a fuss over a baby that was only three weeks old. Kate, too, seemed to be awakening to the conviction that there was no use in grieving for ever. The state of torpor she had been living in-for to stifle remorse she had been drinking heavily on the quiet-now began to wear off, and her brain to uncloud itself; and Dick, surprised at the transformation, could not help exclaiming:

'That's right, Kate; cheer up, old girl. A baby three weeks old isn't the same as a grown person.'

'I know it isn't, but if you only knew-I'm afraid I neglected the poor little thing.'

'Nonsense!' replied Dick, for having an eye constantly on the main chance, he wished to avoid any fresh outburst of grief. 'You looked after it very well indeed; besides, you'll have another,' he added with a smile.

'I want no other,' replied Kate, vexed at being misunderstood, and yet afraid to explain herself more thoroughly.

At last Dick said:

'I wish there was a part for you in the new piece.'

'Yes, so do I. I haven't been doing anything for a long while now.'

And thus encouraged he told her that in the so-and-so company the part of the Countess might be had for the asking.

'Only they play to-morrow night.'

'Oh, to-morrow night! It would be dreadful to act so soon after my poor baby's death, wouldn't it?'

'I can't see why. We shall be as sorry for it in a week's time as now, and yet one must get to work some time or other.'

Dick considered this a very telling argument, and, not wishing to spoil its effect, he remained silent, so as to give Kate time to digest the truth of what he had said. He waited for her to ask him when he would take her to see the manager, but she said nothing, and he was at last obliged to admit that he had made an appointment for to-morrow. She whined a bit but accompanied him to the theatre. The manager was delighted with her appearance. He told her that the photo that Dick had forwarded did not do her justice; and, handing her the script, he said:

'Now you must make your entrance from this side.'

'What's the cue?'

'Here it is. I think I shall now beat a retreat in the direction of home.'

'Ah! I see.'

And, striving to decipher the manuscript, Kate walked towards the middle of the stage. 'I haven't seen the Duke for twenty-four hours, and that means misery.'

'You'll get a laugh for that if you'll turn up your eyes a bit,' said Dick.

Then, turning to the manager, he murmured, 'I wish you'd seen her as

Clairette. The notices were immense. But I must be off now to my own show.'

This engagement relieved the Lennoxes for the time being of their embarrassments. At four they dined, at six bade each other good-bye, and repaired to their respective theatres. Dick was playing in drama, Kate in opéra bouffe; and something before a quarter to eleven she expected him to meet her at the stage-door of the Prince's. On this point she was very particular; if he were a few moments late she questioned him minutely as to where he had been, what he had been doing, and little by little the jealousies and suspicions which her marriage had appeased returned, and tortured her night and day. At first the approach of pain was manifested by a nervous anxiety for her husband's presence. She seemed dissatisfied and restless when he was not with her, and after breakfast in the mornings, when he took up his hat to go out, she would beg of him to stay, and find fault with him for leaving her. He reasoned with her very softly, assuring her that he had the most important engagements. On one occasion it was a man who had given him an appointment in order to speak with him concerning a new theatre, of which he was to have the entire management; another time it was a man who was writing a drama, and wanted a collaborator to put the stage construction right; and as these séances of collaboration occupied both morning and afternoon, Kate was thrown entirely on her own resources until four o'clock. The first two or three novels she had read during her convalescence had amused her, but now one seemed so much like the other that they ended by boring her; and, too excited to be able to fix her attention, she often read without understanding what she was reading: on one side the memory of her baby's death preyed upon her-she still could not help thinking that it was owing to her neglect that it had died-on the other, the thought that her husband was playing her false goaded her to madness. Sometimes she attempted to follow him, but this only resulted in failure, and she returned home after a fruitless chase more dejected than ever.

'Ah! if the baby had not died, there would have been something to live for,' she murmured to herself a thousand times during the day, until at last her burden of remorse grew quite unbearable, and she thought of the brandy the doctor had ordered her. Since her engagement to play the Countess she had forgotten it, but now a strange desire seized her suddenly as if she had been stung by a snake. There was only a little left in the bottle, but that little cheered and restored her even more than she had expected. Her thoughts came to her more fluently, she ate a better dinner, and acted joyously that night at the theatre. 'There's no doubt,' she said to her self, 'the doctor was right. What I want is a little stimulant.' Of the truth of this she was more than ever convinced when next morning she found herself again suffering from the usual melancholy and dulness of spirits. The very sight of breakfast disgusted her, and when Dick left she wandered about the room, unable to interest herself in anything, with a yearning in her throat for the tingling sensation that brandy would bring; and she longed for yesterday's lightness of conscience. But there was neither brandy nor whisky in the house, not even a glass of sherry. What was to be done? She did not like to ask the landlady to go round to the public-house. Such people were always ready to put a wrong interpretation upon everything. But Mrs. Clarke knew that the doctor had ordered her to take a little brandy when she felt weak. All the same, she determined to wait until dinner-time.

Half an hour of misery passed, and then, excited till she could bear with the craving for drink no longer, she remembered that it would be very foolish to risk her health for the sake of a prejudice. To obey the doctor's orders was her first duty-a consoling reflection that relieved her mind of much uncertainty; and ringing the bell, she prepared her little speech.

'Oh! Mrs. Clarke, I'm sorry to trouble you, but-I'm feeling so weak this morning-and, if you remember, the doctor ordered me to take a little brandy when I felt I wanted it. Do you happen to have any in the house?'

'No, ma'am, I haven't, but I can send out for it in a minute. And you do look as if you wanted something to pick you up.'

'Yes,' said Kate, throwing as much weakness as she could into her voice, 'somehow I've never felt the same since my confinement.'

'Ah! I know well how it pulls one down. If you only knew how I suffered with my third baby!'

'I can well imagine it.'

The conversation then came to a pause, and Mrs. Clarke, not seeing her way to any further family confidences, said:

'What shall I send for, ma'am-half a pint? The grocer round the corner keeps some very nice brandy.'

'Yes, that will do,' said Kate, seeing an unending perspective of drinks in half a pint.

'Shall I put that down in the bill, or will you give me the money now, ma'am?'

This was very awkward, for Kate suddenly remembered that she had given over her salary to Dick this week without keeping anything out of it. There was no help for it now, and putting as bold a face on it as she could, she told Mrs. Clarke to book it. What did it matter whether Dick saw it or not? Had not the doctor told her she required a little stimulant?

Henceforth brandy-drinking became an established part of Kate's morning hours. Even before Dick was out of bed she would invent a pretext for stealing into the next room so that she might have a nip on the sly before breakfast. The bottle, and a packet of sweetstuff to take the smell off her mouth, were kept behind a large oleograph representing Swiss scenery. The fear that Dick might pop out upon her at any moment often nearly caused her to spill the liquor over the place; but existence was impossible without brandy, and she felt she was bound to get rid of the miserable moods of mind to which she woke. Before eleven o'clock Dick was out of the house, and this left Kate four hours of lonely idleness staring her blankly in the face. Sometimes she practised a little music, but it wearied her. She had courage for nothing now, and brandy and water was the only thing that killed the dreariness that ached in heart and head. Many half-pint bottles had succeeded the first, and, ashamed to admit her secret drinking, she now paid the landlady regularly out of her own money. When funds were low, a little bill was run up, and this was produced and talked over when the two women were having a glass together of a morning. To pay these debts Kate had to resort to lying. All kinds of lies had to be concocted. Her first idea was to tell Dick she intended to continue her music lessons. He would never, she was sure, ask her a question on the subject; but Dick, who was still hard pressed for money, begged of her to wait until they were better off before incurring new expenses, and, annoyed, she fell back on the subject of clothes, and when he asked her if she could not manage to go on with what she had for a bit, it astonished him to see the mad rage into which she fell instantly. Was it not her own money? Had she not earned it, and was he going to rob her of it? Did he only keep her to work for him? If so, she'd very soon put that to rights by chucking up her engagement; then he would be forced to keep her; she wasn't going to be bullied. In his usual kind way Dick tried to calm her, explaining to her their position, telling her of his projects; but the fear of discovery was a fixed thought in her mind, and she refused to listen to reason until he put his hand in his pocket and gave her two pounds ten. This was just the sum required to pay what she owed at the Ayre Arms. And seeing her difficulties removed, her better nature asserted itself. She begged of Dick to forgive her, pleading that she had lost her temper, and didn't know what she was saying. For an instant she thought of confessing the truth, then the idea died in a resolution to amend. It was not worth speaking of; she was getting stronger, and would soon need no more stimulants.

For two days Kate kept to her promise; instead of sitting at home, she called on one of the ladies of the theatre, and passed a pleasant morning with her. She paid visits to other members of the company, and went out shopping with them. But when three or four met at the corner of a street, after a few introductory remarks, a drink was generally proposed-not as men would propose it, but slyly, and with much af

fectation; and skirting furtively along the streets, a quiet bar would be selected, and then, 'What will you have, dear?' would be whispered softly. 'A drop of gin, dear.' On one of these occasions Kate only just escaped getting drunk. As luck would have it, Dick did not return home to dinner, and a good sleep and a bottle of soda-water pulled her together, so that she was able to go down to the theatre and play her part without exciting observation. And this decided her not to trust herself again to the temptation of her girl friends. She asked Dick to allow her to accompany him sometimes. He made a wry face at this proposal, hesitated, and explained that his collaborator suffered no one to interrupt their séances; he was a timid man, and couldn't work in the presence of a third person. Kate only sighed, but although she did not attempt to dispute the veracity of this statement, she felt that it was cruel that she should be left alone hour after hour. But she deceived herself with resolutions and hopes that she would require no more brandy. In her heart of hearts she knew that she would not be able to resist, and, docile as the sheep under the butcher's hand, she recognized her fate, and accepted it. A fresh bill was run up at the grocer's, and the mornings were passed in a state of torpor. Without getting absolutely drunk, she drank sufficiently to confuse her thoughts, to reduce them to a sort of nebulae, enough to blend and soften the lines of a too hard reality to a long sensation of tickling, in which no idea was precise, no desire remained long enough to grow to a pain, but caressed and passed away. Sometimes, of course, she overdosed herself, but on these occasions, when she found consciousness slipping a little too rapidly from her, she was cunning enough to go and lie down. And living, as she did, in constant fear of detection, she endowed the simplest words and looks with a double meaning, and she could not help hating Dick if he asked her questions or dared to accuse her of being sleepy and heavy about the eyes. Did he intend to insult her-was that it? If so, she wasn't going to stand it. One day he stood before the oleograph, apparently examining with deep interest the different aspects of the Swiss scenery. In reality, his thoughts were far away, but Kate, who did not know this, grew so nervous and angry, that it was with difficulty she kept calm.

On half a dozen different pretexts she had tried to get him away from the picture, and fearing every moment that he would look behind it or touch it, she caught up a plate from the table and dashed it to the ground. The crash caused Dick to jump round, and she began her tirade, beginning with the question, was she so utterly beneath his notice that he couldn't answer a question? Almost every day a dispute of this sort arose: she was always being poked up by some new fear of discovery, and engendered, if not hatred, a fierce resentment; and to deceive herself as to the true reason she criticized his conduct and manner of life bitterly and passionately from every point of view. Jealousy was natural to her, and she was more subject than ever to attacks of it. Once or twice it had blazed into flame, but circumstances had quenched it for the time being. Now there was nothing to oppose it, and all things served as fuel.

She was conscious of no wrongdoing, she believed, and believed sincerely, that she was acting legitimately in defence of her own interests. She was certain that Dick was deceiving her, and the want of moral courage in the man, which forced him to tell lies-lies in which he was sometimes found out-tended to confirm her in this belief. For a few days past she had been preparing for a quarrel, but the time for fight had not yet come, and she chafed under the delay. At last her chance came. He kept her waiting half an hour at the stage-door. Where had he been? What had he been doing all this while? were the questions she put to him in many different forms as they walked home. He sought to pacify his wife, assuring her he had been detained by his manager, who wanted to speak with him concerning a new production; he told a long story regarding the arrangement of some of the processions. But Kate would not accept any of these excuses, and, convinced he had been after a woman, she stuck to her opinion, and the bickering continued for an hour or more, to end as it had begun. These sudden silences were very welcome, for Dick had many things to think out; and nothing more was said until they got up to their room, and then Dick, as usual, forgetful of even the immediate past, began to speak of his manager's intentions regarding a new piece. But he did not get far before he was brought to a sudden standstill by a fresh explosion of wrath.

'What have I done now?' he asked.

'Done! Do you suppose I want to hear about that woman?'

'What woman!'

'Oh! you needn't do the innocent with me!'

'Really! I give you my word--'

'Your word! a nice thing, indeed!'

'Well, what do you want me to do?'

'To leave me in peace,' said Kate, breaking the string of her stays.

Dick was very tired, and, without attempting to argue the point further, undressed and got into bed. In bed the quarrel was resumed; it was continued, and for an hour or more, he lying with his head turned close to the wall, hers dancing over the extreme edge of the pillow.

'Why don't you go away and leave me? I cannot think how you can be so cruel, and to me, who gave up everything for you!'

It was the wail of petulant anger; but as yet she showed no violence, and her temper did not overcome her until her husband, worn out by two hours of unceasing lamentations, begged of her to allow him to go to sleep. Her mood was different in the morning, and it was not until she had paid a couple of visits to the blue Swiss mountains that she became again taciturn. Dick did not as yet suspect his wife of confirmed drunkenness; he merely thought that she had grown lately very ill-tempered, and that a jealous woman was about the most distressing thing in existence; and, anxious to avoid another scene, he hurried through his breakfast. She watched him eating in silence, knowing well he was counting the minutes till he could get away. At last she said:

'Will you take me to church to-day?'

'My dear, I'm afraid I've an appointment, but I'll try to come back if I can,' and a few minutes later he slipped away, leaving her to invite the landlady to come up and have a glass with her if she felt so inclined. But feeling somewhat out of humour for the conversation of that respectable woman, she put on her hat and ran after her husband, determined to watch him. But he was already out of sight, and after roaming aimlessly about for some time she turned into a church, and sat through the whole of the service without once attempting to fix her attention on what was going on; her thoughts were on Dick, but to stand and to kneel was in itself a relief, and when church was over she returned home, after visiting several public houses, slightly boozed.

'Mrs. Clarke, has my husband come in?'

'I haven't heard him, Mrs. Lennox,' was the answer that came up the kitchen stairs.

This was unfortunate, for her heart that had been softening towards him tightened into bitterness, and madness was near the thought that at the moment she was patiently waiting dinner for him he might be in the arms of another woman. She told the landlady, who came upstairs a second time in hope of a sociable glass, that she might bring the soup up (they always had soup on Sundays); if Mr. Lennox didn't choose to come in for his meals he might go without them. At that moment a ring at the door was heard, and, throwing himself in an armchair, Dick said he was tired.

'I dare say you are; I can easily understand that,' was the curt reply.

An expression of pain passed over his face.

'Goodness me, Kate!' he said in a perplexed voice. 'You don't mean to say you're angry still!'

No attention was paid to the landlady, who was placing the soup on the table, and she, being pretty well accustomed to their quarrels, said with an air of indifference as she left the room:

'Dinner is served. I shall bring the leg of mutton up when you ring.'

No answer was made to her, and the couple sat moodily looking at each other. After a pause Dick tried to be conciliatory, and in the most affectionate phrases he could select he besought Kate to make it up.

'I assure you, you're wrong,' he said. 'I've been after no woman. Do, for goodness' sake, make it up.'

Then approaching her chair, he tried to draw her toward him, but pulling herself away passionately, she exclaimed:

'No, no; leave me alone-leave me alone-don't touch me-I hate you.'

This was not encouraging, but at the end of another silence he attempted to reason with her again. But it was useless; and worn and impatient he begged of her at least to come to dinner.

'If you aren't hungry, I am.'

There was no answer; lying back in her chair she sulked, deaf to all entreaty.

'Well, if you won't, I will,' he said, seating himself in her place.

Her eyes flashed with a dull lurid light, and walking close to the table, she looked at him steadily, fidgeting as she did so with the knives and glasses.

'I can't think how you treat me as you do; what have I done to you to deserve it? Nothing. But I shall be revenged, that I will; I can bear it no longer.'

'Bear what?' he asked despairingly.

'You know well enough. Don't aggravate me. I hate you! Oh yes,' she said, raising her voice, 'I do hate you!'

'Sit down and have some dinner, and don't be so foolish,' he said, trying to be jocular, as he lifted the cover from the soup.

'Eat with you? Never!' she answered theatrically. But the interest he showed in the steaming liquid annoyed her so much that, overcome by a sudden gust of passion, she upset the tureen into his lap. Dick uttered a scream, and in starting back he overturned his chair. Although not scalding, the soup was still hot enough to burn him, and he held his thighs dolorously. The tablecloth was deluged, the hearthrug steamed; and, regardless of everything, Kate rushed past, accusing her husband of cruelty, of unfaithfulness, stopping only to reproach him with a desire to desert her. While Dick in dripping trousers asked what he had done to deserve having the soup flung over him, Kate's hair became unloosened and hung down her shoulders like a sheaf of black plumes. Dick thought of changing his trousers, but the intensity of her passion detained him. Stopping suddenly before the table, she poured out a tumbler of sherry, and drank it almost at a gulp. It was as nauseous to her taste as lukewarm water, and she yearned for brandy. It would sting her, would awaken the dull ache of her palate, and she knew well where the bottle was; she could see it in her mind's eye, the black neck leaning against the frame of the picture. Why should she not go and fetch it, and insult him with the confession of her sin? Was it not he who drove her to it? So Kate thought in her madness, and the lack of courage to execute her wishes angered her still further against the fat creature who lay staring at her, lying back in the armchair. She applied herself again to the sherry and swallowed greedily.

'For goodness' sake,' said Dick, who began to get alarmed, 'don't drink that! You'll get drunk.'

'Well, what does it matter if I do? It's you who drive me to it. If you don't like it, go to Miss Vane.'

'What! You've not finished with that yet? Haven't I told you twenty times that there's nothing between me and Miss Vane? I haven't spoken to her for the last three days.'

'That's a lie!' shrieked Kate. 'You went to meet her this morning. I saw you. Do you take me for a fool? But oh! I don't know how you can be such a beast! If you wanted to desert me, why did you ever take me away from Hanley? But you can go now, I don't want the leavings of that creature.'

Taken aback by what was nothing more than a random guess, Dick hesitated, and then, deciding that he might as well be caught out in two lies as in one, he said, as a sort of forlorn hope:

'If you saw us you must have seen that she was with Jackson, and that I didn't do any more than raise my hat.'

Kate made no answer; she was too excited to follow out the train of the simplest idea, and continued to rave incoherent statements of all kinds. The landlady came up to ask when she should bring up the leg of mutton, but she went away frightened. There was no dinner that day. Amid screams and violent words the evening died slowly, and the room darkened until nothing was seen but the fitful firelight playing on Dick's hands; but still the vague form of the woman passed through the shadows like a figure of avenging fate. Would she never grow tired and sit down? Dick asked himself a thousand times. It seemed as if it would never cease, and the incessant repetition of the same words and gestures turned in the brain with the mechanical movement of a wheel, dimming the sense of reality and producing the obtuse terror of a nightmare. But from this state of semi-consciousness he was suddenly awakened by the violent ringing of the bell.

'What do you want? Can I get you anything?'

Kate did not deign to answer him. When the landlady appeared, she said:

'I want some more sherry; I'm dying of thirst.'

'You shall not have any more,' said Dick, interposing energetically. 'Mrs.

Clarke, I forbid you to bring it up.'

'I say she shall,' replied Kate, her face twitching with passion.

'I say she shall not.'

'Then I'll go out and get it.'

'No, I'll see you don't do that,' said Dick, getting between her and the door. As he did so he turned his back to speak to the landlady, and Kate, taking the opportunity, seized a handful of the frizzly hair and almost pulled him to the ground. Twisting round he took her by the wrist and freed himself, but this angered and still further excited her.

'You'd better let her have her way,' the landlady said. 'I won't bring up much, and it may put her to sleep.'

Dick, who at the moment would have given half his life for a little peace, nodded his head affirmatively, and went back to his chair. He did not know what to do. Never had he witnessed so terrible a scene before. Since three or four days back this quarrel had been working up crescendo; and when the landlady brought up the sherry, Kate seized the decanter, and, complaining that it was not full, resumed her drinking.

'So you see I did get it, and I'll get another bottle if I choose. You think that I like it. Well, you're mistaken; I don't, I hate it. I only drink it because you told me not, because I know that you begrudge it to me; you begrudge me every bit that I put into my mouth, the very clothes I wear. But it was not you who paid for them. I earned the money myself, and if you think to rob me of what I earn you're mistaken. You shan't. If you try to do so I shall apply to the magistrate for protection. Yes, and if you dare to lay a hand on me I shall have you locked up. Yes, yes-do you hear me?' she screamed, advancing towards him, spilling as she did the glass of wine she held in her hand over her dress. 'I shall have you locked up, and I should love to do so, because it was you who ruined me, who seduced me, and I hate you for it.'

She spoke with a fearful volubility, and her haranguing echoed in Dick's ears with the meaningless sound of a water-tap heard splashing on the flagstones of an echoing courtyard.

Sometimes he would get up, determined to make one more effort, and in his gentlest and most soothing tones would say:

'Now look here, dear; will you listen to me? I know you well, and I know you're a bit excited; if you will believe me--'

But it was no use. She did not seem to hear him; indeed, it almost seemed as if her ears had become stones. Her hands were clenched, and dragging herself away from him, she would resume her tigerish walk. Sometimes Dick wondered at the strength that sustained her, and the thrill of joy that he experienced was intense when, about two o'clock, after eight or ten hours of the terrible punishment, he noticed that she seemed to be growing weary, that her cries were becoming less articulate. Several times she had stopped to rest, her head sank on her bosom, and every effort she made to rouse herself was feebler than the preceding one. At length her legs gave way under her, and she slipped insensible on the floor.

Dick watched for a time, afraid to touch her, lest by some horrible mischance she should wake up and recommence the terrible scene that had just been concluded, and at least half an hour elapsed before he could muster up courage to undress her and put her to bed.

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