Beyond the Rocks (Chapter 25)

 
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Chapter 25 : Page 1 of 10

After the rain and gloom of the week, Sunday dawned gloriously fine.
There was to be a polo match on Monday in the park, which contained an
excellent ground--Patrick and his Oxford friends against a scratch team.
The neighborhood would watch them with interest. But the Sunday was for
rest and peace, so all the morning the company played croquet, or lay
about in hammocks, and more than half of them again began bridge in the
great Egyptian tent which served as an out-door lounge on the lawn. It
was reached from the western side down wide steps from the terrace, and
beautiful rose gardens stretched away beyond.

Theodora had spent a sleepless night. There was no more illusion left to
her on the subject of her feelings. She knew that each day, each hour,
she was growing more deeply to love Hector Bracondale. He absorbed her
thoughts, he dominated her imagination. He seemed to mean the only thing
in life. The situation was impossible, and must end in some way. How
could she face the long months with Josiah down at their new home, with
the feverish hopes and fears of meetings! It was too cruel, too
terrible; and she could not lead such a life. She had thought in Paris
it would be possible, and even afford a certain amount of quiet
happiness, if they could be strong enough to remain just friends. But
now she knew this was not in human nature. Sooner or later fate would
land them in some situation of temptation too strong for either to
resist--and then--and then--She refused to face that picture. Only she
writhed as she lay there and buried her face in the fine pillows. She
did not permit herself any day-dreams of what might have been. Romauld
himself, as he took his vows, never fought harder to regain his soul
from the keeping of Claremonde than did Theodora to suppress her love
for Hector Bracondale. Towards morning, worn out with fatigue, she fell
asleep, and in her dreams, released from the control of her will, she
spent moments of passionate bliss in his arms, only to wake and find she
must face again the terrible reality. And cruellest thought of all was
the thought of Josiah.

 
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