The Trespasser (Chapter 5, page 2 of 5)


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Chapter 5

'Just as you will,' he replied.

Still she waited, and still he would not look at her. Something troubled
him, she thought. He was foreign to her.

'I will spread the cloth, then,' she said, in deep tones of resignation.
She pressed his hands closely, and let them drop. He took no notice,
but, still with his arms on his knees, he stared into the fire.

In the golden glow of lamplight she set small bowls of white and
lavender sweet-peas, and mignonette, upon the round table. He watched
her moving, saw the stir of her white, sloping shoulders under the lace,
and the hollow of her shoulders firm as marble, and the slight rise and
fall of her loins as she walked. He felt as if his breast were scalded.
It was a physical pain to him.

Supper was very quiet. Helena was sad and gentle; he had a peculiar,
enigmatic look in his eyes, between suffering and mockery and love. He
was quite intractable; he would not soften to her, but remained there
aloof. He was tired, and the look of weariness and suffering was evident
to her through his strangeness. In her heart she wept.

At last she tinkled the bell for supper to be cleared. Meanwhile,
restlessly, she played fragments of Wagner on the piano.

'Will you want anything else?' asked the smiling old landlady.

'Nothing at all, thanks,' said Helena, with decision.

'Oh! then I think I will go to bed when I've washed the dishes. You will
put the lamp out, dear?' 'I am well used to a lamp,' smiled Helena. 'We use them always at home.' She had had a day before Siegmund's coming, in which to win Mrs Curtiss'
heart, and she had been successful. The old lady took the tray.

'Good-night, dear--good-night, sir. I will leave you. You will not be
long, dear?' 'No, we shall not be long. Mr MacNair is very evidently tired out.' 'Yes--yes. It is very tiring, London.' When the door was closed, Helena stood a moment undecided, looking at
Siegmund. He was lying in his arm-chair in a dispirited way, and looking
in the fire. As she gazed at him with troubled eyes, he happened to
glance to her, with the same dark, curiously searching,
disappointed eyes.

'Shall I read to you?' she asked bitterly.

'If you will,' he replied.

He sounded so indifferent, she could scarcely refrain from crying. She
went and stood in front of him, looking down on him heavily.

'What is it, dear?' she said.

'You,' he replied, smiling with a little grimace.

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