"Yes, Helen; and you are disabled in your power to give me what I can never help giving you. I know that. I will not misjudge or presume upon your kindness. We are too good friends to affect any concealments from each other."
His bronzed face grew as stern as it was thin; and since he would no longer look at her, Susie Rolliffe began to steal an occasional and wondering glance at him "'tween meetings."
"Oh, come, wife, you needn't be. The idea! But I'd be jealous if our little girl was sorter weaned away from us by this visit in town."
"I cannot believe it yet. We will not believe it. Now listen patiently, for you will have your part to do."
The man shook his head.
Martine retired to the room in which he had seen Mr. Kemble, that he might compose himself before meeting the physician. The sound of Helen's voice, the mere proximity of the girl who at this hour was to have been his wife had not "old chaos" come again for him, were by no means "straws" in their final and crushing weight. Motionless, yet with mind verging on distraction, he sat in the cold, dimly lighted room until aroused by the voice of Dr. Barnes.
His counsel was followed, the captain readily obeying when told to go with his parents. Then the physician stepped over to Martine's cottage and found, as he supposed, that the opiate and exhausted nature had brought merciful oblivion.
The rain continued to fall in blinding torrents, and the building fairly trembled under the violence of the wind. The guests drew together in the lighted rooms, and sought by varied amusements to pass the time until the fierceness of the storm abated, few caring to retire while the uproar of the elements was so great.
He laughed bitterly, and continued, "Love! That's a word which I believe has no meaning for you at all, but it had for him. You are a remarkably clever woman, Miss Van Tyne. You have brains in abundance. See, I do you justice. What is more, you are beautiful and can be so fascinating that a man who believed in you might easily worship you. You made him believe in you. You tried to beguile me into a condition that with my nature would be ruin indeed. You never had the baby plea of a silly, shallow woman. I took pains to find that out the first evening we met. In your art of beguiling an honest, trusting man you were as perfect as you were remorseless, and you understood exactly what you were doing."