小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Cavalier » XIII GOOD-BYE, DICK
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
XIII GOOD-BYE, DICK

I found but one white figure under the dim veranda eaves. "Miss Camille?"

"Wh'--who is that?" responded a musical voice. "Why, is that Mr. Smith?" as if I were the last person in the world one should have expected to see there. The like of those moments I had never known. I saw her eyes note the perfect fit of my uniform, though neither of us mentioned it. I tried to tell her that Lieutenant Durand was Ned Ferry and that I was now one of his scouts, but she had already heard both facts, and would not tell me what her father had said about me, it was so good. Standing at the veranda's edge a trifle above me, with her cheek against one of the posts and her gaze on her slipper, she asked if I was glad I was going with Ned Ferry, and I had no more sense than to say I was; but she would neither say she was glad nor tell why she was not.

Through the open windows we could see the dancers. Now and then a pair of fanning promenaders came down the veranda, but on descrying us turned back. I said I was keeping her from the dance. To which she replied, drooping her head again, that she shouldn't dance that night.

"Too tired?"

"No."

"Too warm?"

"Oh, no, not too warm."

"Why, then?"

"Oh--I--just don't feel as if I could, that's all."

My heart beat wildly and I wanted to ask if it was on my account; but I was too pusillanimous a coward, and when I feebly tried to look into her eyes she would not let me, which convinced me that she lacked candor. A dance ended. Gold-laced fellows came and sat on the veranda rail wiping wrists and brows with over-tasked handkerchiefs, and explaining the small mishaps of the floor. Two promenaders mentioned the hour. I gasped my amazement and extended my hand. "Good-bye."

"Wait a moment," she murmured, and watched the promenading pair turn back. Then she asked if I had read my mother's letter. I said I had. And then, very pensively, with head bent and eyes once more down, she inquired if I liked to get letters. Which led, quite accidentally, to my asking leave to write to her.

She replied that she did not mean that. Nevertheless, I insisted, would she? She only bent lower still. I asked the third time; and with nothing but the parting of her hair for me to look at, she nodded, and one of her braids fell over in front, and I took the pink-ribboned live end of it timorously between thumb and finger and felt as if I had hold of an electric battery.

She backed half a step, and quite needlessly I let it go. Then she bade me not forget I had promised her the words of a certain song. "Want them? Indeed, yes! Did you not say it was an unpublished song written by a messmate of yours?--oh, Mr. Smith! I see why you stammer! You said 'a member of your mess'! oh!--oh!--oh!--you wrote it, yourself! And you wrote it to-day! That explains--" She drew an awesome breath, rose to her toes and knit her knuckles under her throat.

I was in the sweetest consternation. With the end of her braid once more in my fingers I made her promise to keep the dark secret, and so recited them.

"Maiden passing fair, turn away thine eyes!   Turn away thine eyes ere my bosom burn,
Lit with foolish hope to hear thy fondling sighs,   Like yon twilight dove's, breathe, Return, return!
Turn away thine eyes, maiden passing fair.   O maiden passing fair, turn away thine eyes!

"Maiden passing fair, turn again thine eyes!   Turn again thine eyes, love's true mercy learn.
Breathe, O! breathe to me, as these love-languid skies   To yon twilight star breathe, Return, return!
Turn again thine eyes, maiden passing fair.   O maiden passing fair, turn again thine eyes!"

"Mis-ter Smith! you wrote that?--to-day! Wh'--who is she?"

"One too modest," I murmured, "to know her own portrait." I clutched the braid emotionally and let it go intending to retake it; but she dropped it behind her and said I was too imaginative to be safe.

I stiffened proudly, turned and mounted my steed, but her eyes drew mine. I pressed close, bent over the saddle-bow, and said, "Good-bye, Camille."

"Good-bye." I could barely hear it.

"Oh!--good-bye, just anybody?" I asked; and thereupon she gathered up all her misplaced trust in me, all her maiden ignorance of what is in man, and all her sweet daring, to murmur--

"Good-bye,--Dick."

I caught my breath in rapture and rode away. She was there yet when I looked back--once--and again--and again. And when I looked a last time still she had not moved. Oh, Camille, Camille! to this day I see you standing there in pink-edged white, pure, silent, motionless, a summer-evening cloud; while I, my body clad in its unstained--only because unused--new uniform, and my soul tricked out in the foolhardiness and vanity of a boy's innocence, rode forth into the night and into the talons of overmastering temptation.


欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533