Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/221

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“He was,” she said deliberately, “a very rotten sort of man.”

She spoke like one resolved to be exact and judicial. “I believe I always knew he wasn’t right. But he was very handsome. And ten years younger than Lake. And nobody else seemed to be all right, so I swallowed that. He was an artist, a painter. Perhaps you know his work.” Sir Richmond shook his head. “He could make American business men look like characters out of the Three Musketeers, they said, and he was beginning to be popular. He made love to me. In exactly the way Lake didn’t. If I shut my eyes to one or two things, it was delightful. I liked it. But my father would have stood a painter as my husband almost as cheerfully as he would a man of colour. I made a fool of myself, as people say, about Caston. Well—— When the war came, he talked in a way that irritated me. He talked like an East Side Annunzio, about art and war. It made me furious to know it was all talk and that he didn’t mean business.... I made him go.”

She paused for a moment. “He hated to go.”

“Then I relented. Or I missed him and I wanted to be made love to. Or I really wanted to go on my own account. I forget. I forget my motives altogether now. That early war time was a queer time for everyone. A kind of wildness got into the blood.... I threw over Lake. All