Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/339

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IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA.

"Well!" said Coppinger, looking up. "And your answer is to the point—you wish to stay."

"I did not answer thus. I said—leave me."

"And never intended that he should leave you," raged Coppinger. He came close up to her with his eyes glittering, his nostrils distended and snorting and his hands clinched.

Judith loosened her arms, and with her right hand swept a space before her with the bunch of lavender. He should not approach her within arm's length; the lavender marked the limit beyond which he might not draw near.

"Now, hear me!" said Coppinger. "I have been too indulgent. I have humored you as a spoilt child. Because you willed this or that, I have submitted. But the time for humoring is over. I can endure this suspense no longer. Either you are my wife or you are not. I will suffer no trifling over this any longer. You have as it were put your lips to mine, and then sharply drawn them away and now offer them to another."

"Silence!" exclaimed Judith. "You insult me."

"You insult and outrage me!" said Coppinger, "when you run from your home to chatter with and walk with this Oliver, and never deign to speak to me. When he is your dear Oliver, and I am only Captain Coppinger; when you have smiles for him you have black looks for me. Is not that insulting, galling, stinging, maddening?"

Judith was silent. Her throat swelled. There was some truth in what he said; but, in the sight of heaven, she was guiltless of ever having thought of wrong, of having supposed for a moment that what she had allowed herself had not been harmless.

"You are silent," said Coppinger. "Now hearken! With this moment I turn over the page of humoring your fancies and yielding to your follies. I have never pressed you to sign that register—I have trusted to your good sense and good feeling. You cannot go back. Even if you desire it, you cannot undo what has been done. Mine you are, mine you shall be—mine wholly and always. Do you hear?"

"Yes."

"And agree?"

"No."

He was silent a moment, with clinched teeth and hands