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Love and hatred   By: (1868-1947)

Love and hatred by Marie Belloc Lowndes

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Author of "Lilla," "Good Old Anna," "The Chink in the Armour," "The End of Her Honeymoon," etc.

" Alas! The love of Woman! It is known To be a lovely and a fearful thing. " BYRON.








"Oh, but this is terrible "

Laura Pavely did not raise her voice, but there was trembling pain, as well as an almost incredulous surprise, in the way she uttered the five words which may mean so much or so little.

The man whose sudden, bare avowal of love had drawn from her that low, protesting cry, was standing just within the door of the little summer house, and he was looking away from her, straight over the beautiful autumnal view of wood and water spread out before him.

He was telling himself that five minutes ago nay, was it as long as five minutes? they had been so happy! And yet, stop he had not been happy. Even so he cursed himself for having shattered the fragile, to him the already long perished, fabric, of what she no doubt called their "friendship."

It was she it always is the woman who, quite unwittingly, had provoked the words which now could never be unsaid. She had not been thinking at all of him when she did so she had spoken out of her heart, the heart which some secret, sure instinct bade him believe capable of depths of feeling, which he hoped, with a fierce hope, no man had yet plumbed....

What had provoked his avowal had been the most innocent, in a sense the most beautiful, feeling of which a woman is capable love for her child.

"The doctor says Alice ought to have a change, that she ought to go to the sea, for a little while. I asked Godfrey if I might take her, but he said he didn't think it necessary." She had added musingly, "It's odd, for he really is devoted to the child."

They had been walking slowly, sauntering side by side, very close to one another, for the path was only a narrow track among the trees, towards the summerhouse where they were now she sitting and he standing.

He had answered in what, if she had been less absorbed in herself and her own concerns, she might have realised was a dangerously still voice: "I think I can persuade Godfrey to let her go. Apart from the child altogether, you ought to have a change." And then then she had said, rather listlessly, not at all bitterly, "Oh, it doesn't matter about me!"

Such a simple phrase, embodying an obvious truth, yet they had forced from him the words: "I think it does matter about you, Laura. At least I know it matters a good deal to me, for, as of course you know by now, I love you."

And if his voice had remained quite low and steady, she had seen the blazing, supplicating eyes....

But he had looked away, at once, when he had uttered those irrevocable words; and after a few moments, which had seemed to him an eternity, had come that low, heart felt cry, "Oh, but this is terrible "

"Terrible? Why, Laura?" He crossed his arms, and turning, gazed straight down at her bowed figure.

Again there came a long, unnatural pause.

And then she lifted up her face, and under the shadow cast by her wide brimmed garden hat he saw that even her forehead was flushed. There was an anguished look in the large, deeply blue eyes, which were to him the most exquisite and revealing feature of her delicately drawn face.

"Perhaps I ought not to have said 'terrible,'" she said at last in a low voice, "but but degrading, ignoble, hateful , Oliver... Continue reading book >>

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