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Fecha de registro: 19 jun 2022


She d be by his bedside now looking at him, remembering their love, those first days in the boathouse.

My wife won t be there, miss, but you re welcome. She was back sitting behind the desk again looking at him as he told her he was married.

She almost sprang to her feet now. She couldn t bear it, she couldn t bear that girl being up there alone with him. She must show herself. She must let her see that she was the one he had chosen to stay with, not someone who was seven years her junior, or young and beautiful, but her, as she was . . . herself

She was out of the drawing-room and running up the stairs, and she almost burst into the bedroom, then came to a dead stop and stared at the three women standing round the bed, his mother, his aunt and the person in the black cloak who wasn t a beautiful young girl but a strange-looking creature with dark skin and white frizzy hair; she was young admittedly, but she could see no beauty in her, no appeal.

She walked slowly up to that side of the bed by which Ruth stood and she stared across into the eyes of the girl called Janie. The eyes looked sad, weary, yet at the same time defiant.

A movement of Rory s head brought their atten­tion from each other and on to him. He was awake and looking at them.

If there had been any doubt in Rory s mind that he was near his end it was now dispelled. Janie and Charlotte together. Through the fire in his body was now threaded a great feeling of sadness. He wanted to cry at the fact that this was one game he was going to lose. The cards were all face up, and his showed all black . . . dead black. But still he had played his hand, hadn t he? The game had been short but it hadn t been without excitement. No, no, it hadn t. But now it was over . . . almost. He wished the end would get a move on because he couldn t stand this pain much longer without screaming out his agony. Why didn t they give him something, a good dose, that laudanum . . . laudanum . . . laudanum . . .

He was looking into Janie s eyes now. They were as he remembered them in those far-off days before they were married when she was happy, because she had never really been happy after, had she? It was funny, but in a way Janie hadn t been made for marriage. She looked it, she had the body for it, but she hadn t been made for marriage, whereas Charlotte. Ah! Charlotte.

Charlotte s face was close above his. He was look­ing up into her eyes. Charlotte. Charlotte was remarkable. Charlotte could forgive sins. She was like all the priests rolled into one. There d been a priest here last night, hadn t there? He couldn t really remember. Well, if there had been he knew who would have brought him . . . A dose . . . Why didn t they give him something?



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