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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




her, he took great consolation in the thought that the Colonels lady and Judy OGrady were pretty much alike under their skins. It brought Ruth closer to him, made her possible. Her dear flesh was as anybodys flesh, as his flesh. There was no bar to their marriage. Class difference was the only difference, and class was extrinsic. It could be shaken off. A slave, he had read, had risen to the Roman purple. That being so, then he could rise to Ruth. Under her purity, and saintliness, and culture, and ethereal beauty of soul, she was, in things fundamentally human, just like Lizzie Connolly and all Lizzie Connollys. All that was possible of them was possible of her. She could love, and hate, maybe have hysterics; and she could certainly be jealous, as she was jealous now, uttering her last sobs in his arms. "Besides, I am older than you," she remarked suddenly, opening her eyes and looking up at him, "three years older." "Hush, you are only a child, and I am forty years older than you, in experience," was his answer. In truth, they were children together, so far as love was concerned, and they were as naive and immature in the expression of their love as a pair of children, and this despite the fact that she was crammed with a university education and that his head was full of scientific philosophy and the hard facts of life. They sat on through the passing glory of the day, talking as lovers are prone to talk, marvelling at the wonder of love and at destiny that had flung them so strangely together, and dogmatically believing that they loved to a degree never attained by lovers before. And they returned insistently, again and again, to a rehearsal of their first impressions of each other and to hopeless attempts to analyze just precisely what they felt for each other and how much there was of it. The cloud-masses on the western horizon received the descending sun, and the circle of the sky turned to rose, while the zenith glowed with the same warm color. The rosy light was all about them, flooding over them, as she sang, "Good-by, Sweet Day." She sang softly, leaning in the cradle of his arm, her hands in his, their hearts in each others hands.

CHAPTER XXII

Mrs. Morse did not require a mothers intuition to read the advertisement in Ruths face when she returned home. The flush that would not leave the cheeks told the simple story, and more eloquently did the eyes, large and bright, reflecting an unmistakable inward glory. "What has happened?" Mrs. Morse asked, having bided her time till Ruth had gone to bed. "You know?" Ruth queried, with trembling lips. For reply, her mothers arm went around her, and a hand was softly caressing her hair. "He did not speak," she blurted out. "I did not intend that it should happen, and I would never have let him speak--only he didnt speak." "But if he did not speak, then nothing could have happened, could it?" "But it did, just the same." "In the name of goodness, child, what are you babbling about?" Mrs. Morse was bewildered. "I dont think I know what happened, after all. What did happen?" Ruth looked at her mother in surprise. "I thought you knew. Why, were engaged, Martin and I." Mrs. Morse laughed with incredulous vexation. "No, he didnt speak," Ruth explained. "He just loved me, that was all. I was as surprised as you are. He didnt say a word. He just put his arm around me. And--and I was not myself. And he kissed me, and I kissed him. I couldnt help it. I just had to. And then I knew I loved him." She paused, waiting with expectancy the benediction of her mothers kiss, but Mrs. Morse was coldly silent. "It is a dreadful accident, I know," Ruth recommenced with a sinking voice. "And I dont know how you will ever forgive me. But I couldnt help it. I did not dream that I loved him until that moment. And you must tell father for me." "Would it not be better not to tell your father? Let me see Martin Eden, and talk with him, and explain. He will understand and release you." "No! no!" Ruth cried, starting up. "I do

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