The Trespasser (Chapter 10, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 10

Siegmund carried the boots and the shoes while they wandered over the
sand to the rocks. There was a delightful sense of risk in scrambling
with bare feet over the smooth irregular jumble of rocks. Helena laughed
suddenly from fear as she felt herself slipping. Siegmund's heart was
leaping like a child's with excitement as he stretched forward, himself
very insecure, to succour her. Thus they travelled slowly. Often she
called to him to come and look in the lovely little rock-pools, dusky
with blossoms of red anemones and brown anemones that seemed nothing but
shadows, and curtained with green of finest sea-silk. Siegmund loved to
poke the white pebbles, and startle the little ghosts of crabs in a
shadowy scuttle through the weed. He would tease the expectant anemones,
causing them to close suddenly over his finger. But Helena liked to
watch without touching things. Meanwhile the sun was slanting behind the
cross far away to the west, and the light was swimming in silver and
gold upon the lacquered water. At last Siegmund looked doubtfully at two
miles more of glistening, gilded boulders. Helena was seated on a stone,
dabbling her feet in a warm pool, delicately feeling the wet sea-velvet
of the weeds.

'Don't you think we had better be mounting the cliffs?' he said.

She glanced up at him, smiling with irresponsible eyes. Then she lapped
the water with her feet, and surveyed her pink toes. She was absurdly,
childishly happy.

'Why should we?' she asked lightly.

He watched her. Her child-like indifference to consequences touched him
with a sense of the distance between them. He himself might play with
the delicious warm surface of life, but always he reeked of the
relentless mass of cold beneath--the mass of life which has no sympathy
with the individual, no cognizance of him.

She loved the trifles and the toys, the mystery and the magic of things.
She would not own life to be relentless. It was either beautiful,
fantastic, or weird, or inscrutable, or else mean and vulgar, below
consideration. He had to get a sense of the anemone and a sympathetic
knowledge of its experience, into his blood, before he was satisfied. To
Helena an anemone was one more fantastic pretty figure in her
kaleidoscope.

So she sat dabbling her pink feet in the water, quite unconscious of his
gravity. He waited on her, since he never could capture her.

'Come,' he said very gently. 'You are only six years old today.' She laughed as she let him take her. Then she nestled up to him, smiling
in a brilliant, child-like fashion. He kissed her with all the father in
him sadly alive.

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