down on him without venting his fury as it would be to a panther to bear the javelin-wound without springing and biting. And yet—how could he tell a woman that he was ready to curse her? He was fuming under a repressive law which he was forced to acknowledge: he was dangerously poised, and Rosamond's voice now brought the decisive vibration. In flute-like tones of sarcasm she said—
"You can easily go after Mrs Casaubon and explain your preference."
"Go after her!" he burst out, with a sharp edge in his voice. "Do you think she would turn to look at me, or value any word I ever uttered to her again at more than a dirty feather?—Explain! How can a man explain at the expense of a woman?"
"You can tell her what you please," said Rosamond with more tremor.
"Do you suppose she would like me better for sacrificing you? She is not a woman to be flattered because I made myself despicable—to believe that I must be true to her because I was a dastard to you."
He began to move about with the restlessness of a wild animal that sees prey but cannot reach it. Presently he burst out again—
"I had no hope before—not much—of anything better to come. But I had one certainty—that