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Poor child! What is it that you don't believe?"
His calm, assured tones had the force of a denial.
"Walter-if you'd only say it isn't true
“What Edith told you?”

"Edith? Your sister? No; about that woman—that you—that she

"Why are you bringing all that up again, at this unearthly hour?"

“Then,” she said coldly, “it is true.”
His silence lay between them like a sword.

She had rehearsed this scene many times in the five hours; but she had not prepared herself for this. Her dread had been held captive by her belief, her triumphant anticipation of Majendie's denial.

Presently he spoke; and his voice was strange to her as the voice of another man.

“Anne," he said, "didn't she tell you? It was before I knew you. And it was the only time.”

"Don't speak to me," she cried with a sudden passion, and lay shuddering.

She rose, slipped from the bed, and went to a chair that stood by the open window. There she sat, with her back to the bed, and her eyes staring over the grey parade and out to the eastern sea.

“Anne," said her husband, "what are you doing there?"

Anne made no answer.
"Come back to bed; you'll catch cold.”
He waited.

"How long are you going to sit there in that draught?"

She sat on, upright, immovable, in her thin nightgown, raked by the keen air of the dawn. Majendie raised him


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self on his elbow. He could just see her where she glimmered, and her braid of hair, uncoiled, hanging to her waist. Up till now he had been profoundly unhappy and ashamed, but something in the unconquerable obstinacy of her attitude appealed to the devil that lived in him, a devil of untimely and disastrous humour. The right thing, he felt, was not to appear as angry as he was. He sat up on his pillow, and began to talk to her with genial informality.

“See here,—I suppose you want an explanation. But don't you think we'd better wait until we're up? Up and dressed, I mean. I can't talk seriously before I've had a bath and-and brushed my hair. You see, you've taken rather an unfair advantage of me by getting out of bed.” (He paused for an answer, and still no answer came.)— "Don't imagine I'm ignobly lying down all the time, wrapped in a blanket. I'm sitting on my pillow. I know

a there's any amount to be said. But how do you suppose I'm going to say it if I've got to stay here, all curled up like a blessed Buddha, and you're planted away over there

a like a monument of all the Christian virtues ? Are you coming back to bed, or are you not?"

She shivered. To her mind his flippancy, appalling in the circumstances, sufficiently revealed the man he was. The man she had known and married had never existed. For she had married Walter Majendie believing him to be good. The belief had been so rooted in her that nothing but his own words or his own silence could have cast it out. She had loved Walter Majendie; but it was an

. other man who called to her, and she would not listen to him. She felt that she could never go back to that man, never sit in the same room, or live in the same house with him again. She would have to make up her mind what she would do, eventually. Meanwhile, to get away from him, to sit there in the cold, inflexible, insensitive, to obtain a sort of spiritual divorce from him, while she martyrised her body which was wedded to him, that was the young, despotic instinct she obeyed.

"If you won't come,” he said, "I suppose it only remains for me to go.”

He got up, took Anne's cloak from the door where it hung, and put it tenderly about her shoulders.

"Whatever happens or unhappens,” he said, "we must be dressed."

He found her slippers, and thrust them on her passive feet. She lay back and closed her eyes. From the movements that she heard, she gathered that Walter was getting into his clothes. Once, as he struggled with an insufficiently subservient shirt, he laughed, from mere miserable nervousness. Anne, not recognising the utterance of his helpless humanity, put that laugh down to the account of the devil that had insulted her. Her heart

grew harder.

“I am clothed, and in my right mind,” said Majendie, standing before her with his hand on the window sill.

She looked up at him, at the face she knew, the face that (oddly, it seemed to her) had not changed to suit her new conception of him, that maintained its protest. She had loved everything about him, from the dark, curling hair of his head to his well-finished feet; she had loved his slender, virile body, and the clean red and brown of his face, the strong jaw and the mouth that, hidden under the short moustache, she divined only to be no less strong. More than these things she had loved his eyes, the dark, bright dwelling-places of the “goodness” she had loved best of all in him. Used to smiling as they looked at her, they smiled even now.

“If you'll take my advice,” he said, "you'll go back to your warm bed. You shall have the whole place to yourself.”

And with that he left her.

She rose, went to the bed, arranged the turned-back blanket so as to hide the place where he had lain, and slid on to her knees, supporting herself by the bedside.

Never before had Anne hurled herself into the heavenly places in turbulence and disarray. It had been her wont to come, punctual to some holy, foreappointed hour, with firm hands folded, with a back that, even in bowing, preserved its pride; with meek eyes, close-lidded; with breathing hushed for the calm passage of her prayer; herself marshalling the procession of her dedicated thoughts, virgins all, veiled even before their God.

Now she precipitated herself with clutching hands thrown out before her; with hot eyes that drank the tears of their own passion; with the shamed back and panting mouth of a Magdalen ; with memories that scattered the veiled procession of the Prayers. They fled before her, the Prayers, in a gleaming tumult, a rout of heavenly wings that obscured her heaven. When they had vanished a sudden vagueness came upon her.

And then it seemed that the storm that had gone over her had rolled her mind out before her, like a sheet of white-hot iron. There was a record on it, newly traced, of things that passion makes indiscernible under its consuming and aspiring flame. Now, at the falling of the flame, the faint characters flashed into sight upon the

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blank, running in waves, as when hot iron changes from white to sullen red. Anne felt that her union with Majendie had made her one with that other woman, that she shared her memory and her shame. For Majendie's sake she loathed her womanhood that was yesterday as sacred to her as her soul. Through him she had conceived a thing hitherto unknown to her, a passionate consciousness and hatred of her body. She hated the hands that had held him, the feet that had gone with him, the lips that had touched him, the eyes that had looked at him to love him. Him she detested, not so much on his own account, as because he had made her detestable to herself. Her eyes wandered round the room.

Its alien aspect was becoming transformed for her, like a scene on a tragic stage. The light had established itself in the windows and pier-glasses. The wall-paper was flushing in its own pink dawn. And the roses bloomed again on the grey ground of the bed-curtains. These things had become familiar, even dear, through their three days' association with her happy bridals. Now the room and everything in it seemed to have been created for all time to be the accomplices and ministers of her degradation. They were well acquainted with her and it; they held foreknowledge of her, as the pier-glass held her dishonoured and dishevelled image.

She thought of her dead father's house, the ivy-coated Deanery in the south, and of the small white bedroom, a girl's bedroom that had once known her and would never know her again. She thought of her father and mother, and was glad that they were dead. Once she wondered why their death had been God's will. Now she saw very clearly why. But why she herself should have been sent

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