The Trespasser (Chapter 5, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 5

They found the fire burning brightly in their room. The only other
person in the pretty, stiffly-furnished cottage was their landlady, a
charming old lady, who let this sitting-room more for the change, for
the sake of having visitors, than for gain.

Helena introduced Siegmund as 'My friend'. The old lady smiled upon him.
He was big, and good-looking, and embarrassed. She had had a son years
back.... And the two were lovers. She hoped they would come to her house
for their honeymoon.

Siegmund sat in his great horse-hair chair by the fire, while Helena
attended to the lamp. Glancing at him over the glowing globe, she found
him watching her with a small, peculiar smile of irony, and anger, and
bewilderment. He was not quite himself. Her hand trembled so, she could
scarcely adjust the wicks.

Helena left the room to change her dress.

'I shall be back before Mrs Curtiss brings in the tray. There is the
Nietzsche I brought--' He did not answer as he watched her go. Left alone, he sat with his arms
along his knees, perfectly still. His heart beat heavily, and all his
being felt sullen, watchful, aloof, like a balked animal. Thoughts came
up in his brain like bubbles--random, hissing out aimlessly. Once, in
the startling inflammability of his blood, his veins ran hot, and
he smiled.

When Helena entered the room his eyes sought hers swiftly, as sparks
lighting on the tinder. But her eyes were only moist with tenderness.
His look instantly changed. She wondered at his being so silent,
so strange.

Coming to him in her unhesitating, womanly way--she was only twenty-six
to his thirty-eight--she stood before him, holding both his hands and
looking down on him with almost gloomy tenderness. She wore a white
dress that showed her throat gathering like a fountain-jet of solid foam
to balance her head. He could see the full white arms passing clear
through the dripping spume of lace, towards the rise of her breasts. But
her eyes bent down upon him with such gloom of tenderness that he dared
not reveal the passion burning in him. He could not look at her. He
strove almost pitifully to be with her sad, tender, but he could not put
out his fire. She held both his hands firm, pressing them in appeal for
her dream love. He glanced at her wistfully, then turned away. She
waited for him. She wanted his caresses and tenderness. He would not
look at her.

'You would like supper now, dear?' she asked, looking where the dark
hair ended, and his neck ran smooth, under his collar, to the strong
setting of his shoulders.

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