CAPTIVITY

CHAPTER XVI

Marcella was wakened several times during the night; she was cold and stiff, but only apprehended her discomfort vaguely as she listened to Louis muttering—mostly in French. Each time she spoke softly to him as she used to speak to her father when he was ill. To her he suddenly became an invalid; as the days went on she accepted the role of mother and nurse to him; only occasionally did a more normal love flame out, bewildering and enchanting as his kisses on the Oriana had enchanted and bewildered her. She felt, often, contemptuous of a man who had to stay in bed and have his clothes locked up to save him from getting drunk; at the same time she admired him for attempting so drastic a cure. It was a wholly delightful experience to her to have money and spend it on buying things for him; she would, at this time, have been unrecognizable to Dr. Angus and Wullie; they would never have seen their rather dreamy, very boy-like, almost unembodied Marcella of Lashnagar in the Marcella of Sydney, with her alternate brooding maternal tenderness that guarded him as a baby, or with the melting softness of suddenly released passion. All her life she had been "saved up," dammed back, save for her inarticulate adoration of her mother, her heart-rending love of her father and her comradeship with Wullie and the doctor. Louis had opened the lock gates of her love and got the full sweep of the flood. But he gave nothing in return save the appeal of weakness, the rather disillusioning charm of discovery and novelty.

For the first few weeks in Sydney she walked in an aura of passion strangely blended of the physical and the spiritual. She knew nothing about men; what she had seen on the ship made her class them as nuisances to be put in the sea out of hand. Her father was the only man she had known intimately before. Her father had been a weak man, and yet a tyrant and an autocrat. Logically, then, all men were tyrants and autocrats. The women in Sydney whom she saw in Mrs. King's kitchen, where she went to learn how to cook, talked much of their husbands, calling them "boss." Hence she meekly accepted Louis's autocratic orderings of her coming and going. Again, her father had been gripped, in the tentacles first of the whisky-cult, and later of the God-cult. Therefore, she reasoned, all men were so gripped by something. It was a pity that they were so gripped. It seemed to her that women must have been created to be soft cushions for men to fall upon, props to keep them up, nurses to minister to their weakness. She slowly came to realize that the age of heroes was dead—if it had ever been, outside the covers of story-books. It seemed that Siegfried no longer lived to slay dragons, that Andromeda would have to buckle on armour, slip her bonds and save her Perseus when he got into no end of entanglements on his way to rescue her. By degrees she came to think that men were children, to be humoured by being called "boss" or "hero" as the case may be. Reading the extraordinary assortment of books sent to her by the doctor, as time went on, it seemed to her that John the Baptist of to-day had gone aside from making straight the pathway of the Lord to lie in the tangles of Salome's hair. In all the great names she read there seemed to be a kink; some of them were under a cloud of drugs or drink; de Quincey hurt her terribly; sitting one day on the side of Louis's bed reading "John Barleycorn"—she had discovered Jack London in the "Cruise of the Snark" and loved his fine adventurousness—she felt that she could not bear to know a thing so fine, so joyous and so dashing as he should have so miserable a neurosis.

Dr. Angus, among other things, sent her Kraill's Lendicott Trust Autumn lectures in the form of six little grey covered pamphlets. They were much coloured by recent inspiring German and American sex psychology. But she did not know that. She thought that they began, continued and ended in Kraill and, though she fell down in adoration before his uncanny wisdom, his cynicism made her miserable. They showed her humanity in chains; particularly did they show her man in chains; she read them all—six of them—in one afternoon and evening; students and trained scientists had taken them in doses of one a fortnight. Naturally she got mental indigestion that was not helped by the fact that, six to a dozen times on every page, she had to find the meaning of words in a dictionary she had bought to look up the meaning of Louis's remark the first night they were married. He was amused and tolerant about the dictionary. He seemed to think girls need not trouble to understand what they read. He was particularly superior about "little girls trying to take strong meat when they were at the milk-for-babes stage of development."

"But you know, Louis," she said, looking up from her pamphlet with a perplexed frown, "He seems to think that if a man wants a cup of tea and a piece of bread and butter, it's sex!"

"Well, so it is," said Louis calmly, puffing at his cigarette and watching her through the smoke. "Every hunger on earth is sex, right at bottom—every desire is generated by the sex force; drinking, love of parents and children, love of God, the artist's desire for beauty and to create beauty—just sex, old lady!"

He laughed at her horrified face.

"And you're such a bally little Puritan you think that's terrible, don't you?"

She nodded, flushing.

"You aren't a Puritan, really, Marcella," he said, watching her face. "It's your upbringing has made you a Puritan."

"Louis," she burst out, "I'd rather be a Puritan, I think—and be all dead and dried up like Aunt Janet, than—than—what you call bowled over. I'd loathe that anything should have me; put me in chains; make me do things! Louis—" her voice dropped to a meek whisper, "it isn't that—that—beastly sort of thing makes me love you, is it? Makes me love to buy flowers and books for you, and make food for you, and be near you? Louis—just because you're a man and I'm a girl?"

"Of course it is, you little silly," he said complacently.

"Then I won't!" she cried hotly. "I won't do a thing because something inside me, over which I have no control, says I've got to! I hate it! It's a chain—I'm—a thing with a will, not just a bundle of instincts."

He looked at her queerly, laughed a little and said nothing. She got the terrible idea that he knew more than she did, that something was weaving a net which all the while she thought was beautiful devotion when it was really something that was getting entangled in her arms and legs so that she could not move as she wished.

"I resent it!" she cried, suddenly, starting up as though she would push the wall through and escape into the street. "I can't bear chains, Louis."

"Then commit suicide," he said, stretching his hand out to her. "Even then some of these mad psychics say that that doesn't kill the thing you're escaping from. They say you die with an appetite and are so earthbound that you come to life again with it still about you. Lord, if I died now I'd come back and be the bung of a whisky barrel—and you—"

"Louis, don't," she cried, staring up wildly. "It's beastly. Oh it's better not to understand anything at all! Do you know, I believe lots of people who stop to think resent these tyrannies of the body, only they don't mention it because it's the sort of thing that makes people blush! In this last lecture Professor Kraill says the same thing you told me once."

"Considering I've already told you quite a million things—" he began in the tone one uses to a child. She broke in passionately, turning the pages of Number Six of the Lendicott Lectures swiftly.

"Listen. This is what he says."

"We are loaded with sex and sex tradition, which the body and its burdens have imposed upon humanity. Poets have written and dreamed of the delights of wine, woman and song; priests and prophets have written and thundered and dreamed of the world, the flesh and the devil. It is only a difference of terminology. Poet, artist, priest and anchorite alike thought all the time of the tyranny of the body until it became a million-horse-power steam hammer crushing out his microscopic pin-head of a soul. To man, woman is still the siren tradition made her; she likes to be. She likes to think hers is 'the face that launched a thousand ships and fired the topless towers of Ilium.' She insists that man shall set out on his high adventure in quest of her. But he is beginning to see through her. He has her fate in the test-tube of his scientific laboratories to-day. She has refused to join him as a comrade in armour; she has preferred to remain the vehicle of reproduction, the prize of his play-times, his allurement, his passenger. Then let her remain so. Man is going to keep her under. Think what has been done in plastic surgery, what is being done in what I call plastic psychology! Think what selection has done in the breeding of lower forms of life. And then let woman tremble! If she is perpetually going to chain man in the meshes of her hair, the curves of her fingers, he is going to get rid of her—except as a thing for pleasure and for use. Most of the time he hugs his chains. One day he will get clear vision, realize that woman has got too much for him and—limit her! It is, to some extent, being done unconsciously already. Why is it a disgrace to be the mother of a girl-child in certain Oriental countries? Why do they drown girl-babies in the Ganges? It is simply that they realize the danger of this softness, this overlordship of women! Clearer thinking than we, they see the menace of femininity. We of the West will soon see that woman has been the passenger in the rather frail life-boat of the world. And in self defence we shall put her overboard before long—unless—unless—she takes an oar."

"Lord, he does lap into them, doesn't he?" said Louis, gleefully.

She frowned and pondered.

"I think you are ungenerous, all of you," she said softly. "Men seem such unbalanced children to me. Wanting to put women overboard."

She looked at Louis, and they both broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter as they recalled that that was exactly what she had literally done with an annoying man.

"Perhaps we're all ungenerous," she said presently. "I believe we are ungenerous towards the thing that chains us. It's only natural. But I don't think that you or the author of 'John Barleycorn' or poor de Quincey ought really to put drugs and drink and all that out of the world at all. You ought to live with them in the world, and not let them chain you. Don't you think so? And—poor Professor Kraill! Isn't he wistful about the stuffiness of women's hair? Oh Louis, do you know what it reminds me of?"

He lit a cigarette, watching her with amused tolerance.

"Knollys put a horrible sticky fly-paper in the stewards' pantry one day. I was looking at it, and wishing flies needn't be made at all. Then I wished I could let the poor things all loose, no matter how horrible they are. There was one big bluebottle that had got stuck there on his back with his wings in the sticky stuff. He struggled and struggled till—Oh, horrible!—his wings came off. Then he crawled and crawled, over other dead flies till he got to the edge of the paper. And he went all wobbly and horrible because nearly all his legs had got pulled off."

"Lord, what a mind you've got!" he said.

"Can't you see that's how people are—most of them. Oh, poor things! If I'd stopped to think I'd have been sorry for Ole Fred instead of putting him in the sea for the sharks."

He looked at her amusedly again, and then at the kettle boiling on the little spirit-stove.

"I say, old lady, theories are all very nice—after tea," he suggested.

"Oh, is it tea time?" she said, with a little sigh. Then, brightening, she hummed a little tune all wrong as she cut bread and butter, laid a little spray of bush roses round his plate and went down to the kitchen to ask Mrs. King's advice about what treatment she could give to eggs to make them nicer than usual for him.

At the door she turned back.

"You know, Louis—they've such lovely, shining wings—all beautiful colours—"

"What?" he said. He had already dismissed the "silly little girl's" arguments from his mind.

"I'm thinking about people and bluebottles! Lovely iridescent wings all sploshed down in sticky stuff. And swift legs—it seems such a pity to cripple them so that they can't fly or run."

"I do so want my tea," he said, pretending to groan.

She ran down the stairs with a laugh.

That day she discovered the possibilities of the roof.

At the end of the landing on which their big top room opened was a short iron ladder. She decided to explore and, climbing up the iron ladder, pushed up the trapdoor. A cry of delight escaped her as she thrust her head through the opening. It was a great, flat roof, separated from the next ones by low copings of stone work, flat topped and about two feet high. The town, as she climbed out and stood on the roof, lay beneath her like a plan. People looked like flies in the streets, the tramcars like accelerated caterpillars. The water of the harbour was still and smooth and as incredibly blue as the water she had seen Mrs. King using in her laundry work that morning. Wharves or trees ran right down into the blueness. The big ships lying at anchor made her heart beat fast with their clean beauty and romance; the bare, clean roofs running along for perhaps fifty houses gave her a breath of freedom that brought back Lashnagar and Ben Grief. She thought, with a pang of pity, about Louis, the product of suburban London, chained to streets and houses almost all his boyhood, knowing nothing of the scourge of the winds, the courage of wide, high places. She tumbled down the ladder, her eyes bright.

"Louis—Oh Louis, come up on the roof! It's perfectly beautiful! I've been so worried about you shut up here like this, and I've felt so choked myself with this one room. But up there I'll make you shut your eyes, and I'll tell you all about Ben Grief, and you'll think you're there. I'll make you hear the curlews and the gulls and see Jock and Tammas come in with the boats."

"But on the roof!" he protested. "Whatever next?"

"Oh, come and see. You'll love it," she urged and, though he said it was "a beastly fag," she got him at last into his dressing-gown and slippers and sitting beside her on the coping.

She was happier than she had been for months; she felt that there was enough breath up here for her, and not even his laughing at her for being "such a kid" could damp her enjoyment. Presently a new idea occurred to her.

"Let's sleep up here!" she cried, and once again over-ruled his objections, and dragged up the mattress and blankets.

The shadows of the chimneys were long across the roofs as she laid the mattress down by the coping. The day had been hot with the clear, bright heat of early summer. They sat on the mattress, smoking—an accomplishment Marcella had learnt from him and practised rather tentatively. She talked to him of Lashnagar, pouring into his ears legend after legend of her people, until she came to the tale of the spaewife and the coming of the ruin upon Lashnagar.

"Do you mean to have the cheek to say this is an ancestor of yours?" he asked as, with glowing eyes and quickened breaths, she told him of the twins born on Flodden Field and wrapt in their foemen's trappings. Had he been less self-centred he could not have tried to hurt her by making fun of her legends.

"Yes. She is my great, great, goodness knows how great grandmother. I'm rather proud of her, but she takes some living up to. I often feel I disappoint her. But if ever I feel flabby or lazy or tired of hard things I switch my mind on to her. Fancy her, sick and weak, tramping after her man to the battle, and then leaving him dead as she took his heirs and his shattered pennant back to the ruins of his home. I feel ashamed of myself for ever daring to think I'm ill-used when I think of my spaewife grandmother! We're not brave and hard like that now—But I'd rather like to get her here to settle you and people who talk about 'limiting' women. She wasn't much of a passenger."

"Oh, that witch story comes in lots of mythologies, and old family histories!" he said, teasingly. "I don't suppose she ever existed at all, really, or if she did it was because she'd been tarred and feathered and took refuge at that out of the world show because she was afraid of being burnt."

"Afraid!" she cried, and began to tingle all over just as she had tingled when Mactavish played the pipes at her father's funeral. Just for an instant she wanted to push Louis over the roof, hear him smash far below on the street for daring to say the spaewife was afraid. Then, just as swiftly, she remembered that he was weak and must not be annoyed because he could not stand it. It came to her in a flash how impossible it was for him, with no pride but self-love, no courage but Dutch courage, to understand fearlessness and endurance. Her tingling smart of madness and anger passed, leaving her penitent and pitying. She put her arm round his neck and kissed him behind his ear. He, not knowing the swift processes of her thought, imagined that he had "knocked a bit of the silliness out of her" effectively.

"Poor little boy," she whispered, and he liked it.

The waters of the harbour began to deepen to indigo: the sun went down behind the roofs of the city at their side. There was a faint faraway crackling in the air as of straw and twigs burning in a fierce fire; the sky was flooded with streamers of mauve and green, gold and rosy light that flickered over the bed of the sinking sun for an hour or more instead of leaving the sky suddenly grey as it usually was after the rapid twilight. The sundown bugle called down the flag on the masthead of the flagship, and the headlights twinkled out. Marcella and Louis grew very quiet as the streets quietened and only an occasional car clanged by in George Street, an occasional band of singing sailors went back rollicking down the street, a solitary ferry glided along in the water, with brilliant reflections and blaring German band. She crept a little closer to him; when he did not speak she forgot, for the while, the chasm between them. It is so easy not to criticize anything seen through veils of glamour. People socially, spiritually and mentally worlds apart can love violently for a while when there is physical attraction. And they are very happy, breathlessly, feverishly happy. Then they wake up with a memory of mutual giving-way that embitters and humiliates when the inevitable longing for something more stable than softness and breathlessness sets in.

Louis had not been drunk for three weeks; so many things had happened to her, new things, charming things, adorable things and sad things since they left the ship that she had almost sponged the memory of it from her mind. The faculty that had been forced upon her in self defence during her childhood, of forgetting hunger, hardness and repression the moment she left the house and got out on to the wild hillside in the sun and the wind came to her now with a kind of rapture. She had never, in her childhood, dared to resent anything that hurt herself. This spirit of non-resentment had become a habit of mind with her. She forgot—if she ever realized—that Louis had hurt her, in the soft beauty of the aurora, the silent fall of the night, the exhilaration of the roof with its loneliness, its romance.

After awhile she went down the ladder and brought up grapes and granadillas, and four candles. Louis looked disappointed: he would have preferred mutton for supper, but for once said nothing as she stuck two candles on the coping and two at the foot of the mattress, and lighted them. They burnt unnickering in the windless, blue air.

It was the setting of romance. Dreams, play-acting came back. Breaking off a bunch of grapes for Louis she said:

"This is a roof garden in Babylon. You're a king. Oh no, it's Jerusalem. I'm Bethsaibe, bathing on the roof and you're King David. You've got to fall in love with me."

Louis was too self-centred, too introspective to make love to anyone; it was only alcohol that released unconscious longings in him: he had never, consciously, loved anything on earth: his desperate pleadings with Marcella on the ship had been pleadings for a mother, a caretaker rather than for a lover. His gross suggestions when he was drunk—the relics of his boyish first sex adventure—she did not understand. Nor did she understand why, when he had lain drunk and asleep that first night in the room below, she had looked at him feeling choked to tears; why she sat up at night watching him as he slept, vaguely discomforted and distressed; why she looked at him with blinded eyes. Had Louis not roused first her mother love to guard his helplessness, he would never have got into close enough touch with her to rouse the physical passion which might have thus slept on for long years. All her frowning, bewildered self-analysis could not explain the whirlpool of sensations into which she had fallen, which alternately buffeted her with vague unhappiness and drew her along to ecstasies. She did not realize that all her dreams of a splendid Lover had become mixed up with the family legend about "taking the man she needed" and had crystallized round Louis, the first man to waken physical passion for her.

In a warm rapture up here on the house-top in the still night air her conscious mind went to sleep; she lived her dreams. And Louis did not understand; out of the reach of temptation for three weeks, he felt very strong; her tenderness, her passionate love flattered him: he became a very fine fellow indeed in his own eyes as he lay there, half asleep, under the silver and purple of the midnight sky. He must be a very fine fellow—so he argued—if she could love him. She had won his reluctant admiration long before she had wakened his love.

"She's a queer stick," he told himself drowsily, "and a perfect darling. Lord, the way she shook the life out of me that night at Naples! Just because I mentioned her bally old father. I believe—I really believe, in spite of her being in the steerage—that she's pretty well born! And the way she stuck Ole Fred in the water without turning a hair. And got fifty quid out of her uncle as easy as falling off a log! Lord, I've never raised more than a fiver out of an uncle in my life—and that on a birthday."

He felt for her hand and held it drowsily. It was a very cool, hard hand—not in the least like Violet's pretty little product of creams and manicure.

"She's some girl," he thought. "And what a blazing wonder that she'll look at me. Yet I can twist her round my little finger—on occasions like to-night."

By a very humanly understandable metempsychosis she became just a little less shining because more reachable; some of her shine transferred to him. His conception of the whole thing was physical; hers was not consciously physical at all. But as she lay, long after he was asleep, watching the candles fade one by one, leaving a fainter purple in the sky, she felt vaguely disappointed; all this business of love-making seemed to mean so much less to Louis than it did to her; he did not take it seriously, or rather he did not make it the high feast she found it. He could be flippant about it. For her it broke down every barrier, every reservation. Louis was able to come down immediately from ecstasy to everyday things. This, she argued, meant that he had not flown so very high after all. He was able to make a laughing, half-embarrassed remark to the effect that he hoped no one else was on the roofs round about. She would not have cared if everyone in Sydney was on the roofs. For her no one existed just then but Louis. That had jarred a little. Then there were no more cigarettes and he had, quite petulantly, complained of the trouble of going down into the room for a new tin. She had gone cheerfully, as she would have fetched things for her father. She did not realize that, by waiting on his whims, she was lowering herself in his esteem. He had taken the cigarettes without a word of thanks. It was only when she lay awake for hours afterwards, with a vague discomfort that was certainly not physical, that she remembered and was amazed that he could have remembered cigarettes just then. It did not square at all with her Lover dream. And the Southern Cross as she lay with unblinking eyes staring into the great, still dome above her, was disappointing. She had heard so much about it; she had thought it would be a group of flaming suns in the night sky. And its separate pointers were not even so big and bright as Venus. She felt, somehow, that she had been cheated a little; and immediately told herself that it was not so really—either she had expected too much, or else she was not clever enough to see what was really there all the time.

She did not go to sleep all the night. It was at four o'clock that she crept quietly from underneath the blankets and sat on the coping, perilously near the edge of the outer wall, with the dawn wind from the sea blowing deliciously cold through her thin nightgown. Daybreak came like the rolling up of a blind; thoughts and memories chased each other in her mind. She looked across at Louis, fast asleep. Her impulse told her to waken and ask him to kiss her good morning. And then she stopped dead. Her feet were carrying her, very uncomfortably, over the rusted corrugated iron of the roof towards him. Her brain signalled to them to stop, and they would not! She felt herself being carried by them quite against her will, and in another moment she knew that her lips would be on his eyes, kissing him to waken him. And at that moment her foot caught on a nail that the weathering of the iron had exposed. She gave a little, repressed cry of pain and saw her foot bleeding.

She sat down exactly where she was; her foot went on bleeding, but she did not notice it. The slight pain had done its work in jerking her to an awareness of her body.

"Oh, my goodness," she said out aloud, "I'm caught! I'm chained! Louis was right when he said I didn't understand about these hungers. Oh, my goodness, it's like Louis's feet take him to a whisky bottle. My feet were simply coolly walking me off to waken him up."

She sat motionless, scarcely breathing. Her heart began to thump unpleasantly and she felt a flush tingling down to her feet and to the tips of her fingers.

"If I hadn't torn my foot then I'd have given way to that blaze—and each time you give way to a thing it chains you a bit more! I'd never have had a chance to sit cool and think it out, because I'd have forgotten, before I knew where I was, that it needed thinking out at all. I'd have wakened him by now."

This jerked her, wakened her, widened her. Swiftly she was able to see that Louis, on his whisky chase, de Quincy on his opium chase, King David, Solomon, Nelson, Byron and Kraill on their woman chase were not perhaps so fortunate as to get a nail jabbed in their feet, pulling them up sharp and giving them time to think.

"There I've been blaming them a bit—pitying them a lot! Heavens, I was superior!" she said.

The sun came up out of the sea and looked at her.

"Because I didn't know," she told it. "I was superior! Because I'd never felt the pull of a chain."

She thought the sun took on a horribly knowing, superior expression.

Another rather shaking thought came. Since her recollection of the blameless fool that first night in Sydney she had sought the bookshops for the text of "Parsifal" and had found it, a ragged copy for twopence, in a second-hand bookshop near the station. She had been puzzled when Parsifal, trying to free himself from the enchantment of the witch-woman's embrace, had suddenly been confronted by her exultant:

"And so then, with my kiss,
The world's heart have I shewn thee?
In my soft arms enfolded
Like to a god thou'llt deem thee."

"Yes, that's it," she cried. "Oh, you old sun, listen to the speciousness of it all! Listen—I mustn't let Louis hear, because he'd be hurt. He isn't my Lover, my Knight at all. He's just the same thing to me as women used to be to the Knights—he's something to rescue, to deliver from bondage. And—just like those beautiful, soft women, he's—he's a sort of seduction to me. Oh—it's horrible!"

She waited a minute tensely. Thought always came to her in flashes.

"And so are all men. They're all in bondage."

The sun seemed to have a big, fat, knowing face. One of his eyes winked at her.

"Here am I getting myself into a chain that's going to drag at me every time I'm fighting for him. This—this softness, this love-making and all the thrill of it—it's going to make holes in my armour and stuff them up with—crêpe de Chine!"

She had seen crêpe de Chine yesterday for the first time; Mrs. King was making a blouse of it. Marcella had loved its fine sheen and delicacy. But it did not seem much use as armour.

"Here's this thing happened to wake me up, give me insight. There is the plausibleness of it, the temptation of it. I know last night taught me things, millions of things. It promises to teach me more each time it's repeated. And each time it's repeated I get more and more crêpe de Chine patches on my armour. I get bowled over like a ninepin. How am I to know I'll not be permanently bowled over—till I get—like—like—" A long line of those people she had pitied for their weakness came to her. "I nearly was this morning. If it hadn't been for that nice kind nail in the roof! Wagner knew all about this when he made the witch-woman realize that her kiss had unlocked all the world's wisdom for the fool. And one can't help wondering how it is that a thing so natural and beautiful can be bad for one—"

She began to bite her thumb-nail fiercely and stopped, disgusted with herself, as she realized how she had often condemned Louis for exactly the same habit when he got perplexed.

"You see!" she told the sun desperately, "even a little thing like that! I do think we're censorious and cruel to each other."

She began to walk about the roof. Her foot was bleeding neglected; at every step she left a little, red print unnoticed.

"Of course it's natural and beautiful—and abominably instructive! Where the wrong comes in is that it gets you down, beats you, takes hold of you. Eating bread would be wrong if you made an orgy of it. So would religion, or anything. All this time I've been posing as something so splendid, wanting to save Louis from Drink; I've been deceiving myself. I've been in love with him. And it's the sort of love that would soon degenerate into an orgy—if I let it!"

She felt that she was so full of ideas that she was getting muddled, but one thing was very clear.

"I wonder if that queer remark in Genesis, 'Adam knew Eve, his wife,' means this strange understanding that has happened to me to-night? I've often been puzzled by what it could mean. Did it mean that he became aware, in a flash as I did, of what this sex business might mean in his life—how it might be a chain to him as it has been to so many people? It's queer—it's like waking up from a dream that's been over you all your life, and suddenly seeing things very clear. I see them clear now." She looked out across the shining sea. "Either it can be a chain, or it can be a Spear of Deliverance as it was to Parsifal."

She looked from the sea to Louis, unconscious, untroubled by problems now that she had taken his burdens upon herself. She realized that she had even more battles to fight now. She had her own; there was an enemy within her own camp. Even as she stood there watching him her nails gripped the stone coping fiercely because half of her was wanting last night's tornado back again.

"No, I won't put up with chains. I'll carry a Spear," she said, and tumbled down the ladder to dress ... tumbled because her feet were unsteady.



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