Katharine Fullerton Gerould.

The great tradition, and other stories online

. (page 16 of 16)
Online LibraryKatharine Fullerton GerouldThe great tradition, and other stories → online text (page 16 of 16)
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never possess them, we look on coldly. It was no
more his than his own intolerable home. That was
simply one more of the peaks he would never scale.
Magic had gone out of it, as the point had gone out
of his plot.

She had chosen to take the last advantage of him.
He still considered that she had been in every partic-
ular grossly unfair; she had served up a perpetual
banquet for cynicism. But the fact remained that
she had won out. His perceptions — even now he could
see quite clearly how brutally he had been tricked —
had done him no good. She had only to assert her
preposterous rights — rights that he did not believe
352



THE WEAKER VESSEL

in, even while he yielded — to beat him back from his
position. Against whom else in the world would he be
incapable of defending his own definition of honor ?
Honor! He knew what it was, none better; yet Evelyn
had only to breathe the word from her meaningless
lips for him to vacillate, to succumb, to fail. He had
believed in his plot — strategy was so easy ! But in the
actual, unciviHzed encounter she had worked on his
nerves Uke the monotonous iterations of a barbaric
drum. He could have faced a flaunting danger, he
could have faced even the wearisome hardships of the
jungle — ^he knew it, and Warbeck did not doubt it
— ^but he could not face Evelyn Targett. Even now,
after she had gone, he shook as though he needed
quinine. It was an Olympian jest of the cruellest.
Appalled by the pattern he saw dimly tracing
itself, the deuteragonist bowed his head on his folded
hands. They covered, from the touch of his forehead,
the galleries and gardens, the signal-towers and
palaces, the careless mountains, and the insolent
rocks crowned with machicolations as old as time.



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Online LibraryKatharine Fullerton GerouldThe great tradition, and other stories → online text (page 16 of 16)