The Trespasser (Chapter 8, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 8

The way home lay across country, through deep little lanes where the
late foxgloves sat seriously, like sad hounds; over open downlands,
rough with gorse and ling, and through pocketed hollows of bracken
and trees.

They came to a small Roman Catholic church in the fields. There the
carved Christ looked down on the dead whose sleeping forms made mounds
under the coverlet. Helena's heart was swelling with emotion. All the
yearning and pathos of Christianity filled her again.

The path skirted the churchyard wall, so that she had on the one hand
the sleeping dead, and on the other Siegmund, strong and vigorous, but
walking in the old, dejected fashion. She felt a rare tenderness and
admiration for him. It was unusual for her to be so humble-minded, but
this evening she felt she must minister to him, and be submissive.

She made him stop to look at the graves. Suddenly, as they stood, she
kissed him, clasped him fervently, roused him till his passion burned
away his heaviness, and he seemed tipped with life, his face glowing as
if soon he would burst alight. Then she was satisfied, and could laugh.

As they went through the fir copse, listening to the birds like a family
assembled and chattering at home in the evening, listening to the light
swish of the wind, she let Siegmund predominate; he set the swing of
their motion; she rested on him like a bird on a swaying bough.

They argued concerning the way. Siegmund, as usual, submitted to her.
They went quite wrong. As they retraced their steps, stealthily, through
a poultry farm whose fowls were standing in forlorn groups, once more
dismayed by evening, Helena's pride battled with her new subjugation to
Siegmund. She walked head down, saying nothing. He also was silent, but
his heart was strong in him. Somewhere in the distance a band was
playing 'The Watch on the Rhine'.

As they passed the beeches and were near home, Helena said, to try him,
and to strike a last blow for her pride: 'I wonder what next Monday will bring us.' 'Quick curtain,' he answered joyously. He was looking down and smiling
at her with such careless happiness that she loved him. He was wonderful
to her. She loved him, was jealous of every particle of him that evaded
her. She wanted to sacrifice to him, make herself a burning altar to
him, and she wanted to possess him.

The hours that would be purely their own came too slowly for her.

That night she met his passion with love. It was not his passion she
wanted, actually. But she desired that he should want _her_ madly, and
that he should have all--everything. It was a wonderful night to him. It
restored in him the full 'will to live'. But she felt it destroyed her.
Her soul seemed blasted.

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