Beyond the Rocks (Chapter 26, page 1 of 9)

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Chapter 26

At luncheon, when Theodora descended from her room, the whole party were
assembled and already seated at the several little tables. The only
vacant place left was just opposite Hector.

And there they faced each other during the meal, and all the time her
eyes reminded him of the wounded fawn again, only they were sadder, if
possible, and her face was pinched and pale, not the exquisite natural
white of its usual fresh, soft velvet.

Something clutched at his heart-strings. What extra sorrow had happened
to her since last night? What could he do to comfort and protect her?
There was only one way--to take her with him out of it all.

After the first nine days' wonder, people would forget. It would be an
undefended suit when Josiah should divorce her, and then he would marry
her and have her for his very own. And what would they care for the
world's sneers?

His whole being was thrilled and exalted with these thoughts; his brain
was excited as with strong wine.

To have her for his own!

Even the memory of his mother only caused him a momentary pang. No one
could help loving Theodora, and she--his mother--would get over it, too,
and learn her sweetness and worth.

He was wildly happy now that he had made up his mind--so surely can
passionate desire block out every other feeling.

The guests at their table were all more or less civil. Theodora's
unassuming manner had disarmed them, and as savage beasts had been
charmed of old by Orpheus and his lute, so perhaps her gentle voice had
soothed this company--the women, of course; there had been no question
of the men from the beginning.

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