Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/326

This page has been validated.
286
MY LIFE AND LOVES.

panther-like grace of her and her little breasts stuck out against the thin cotton garment with a most provocative allurement: my mouth was parching when she swung round on me; "You ondressing me", she said smiling, "and I'se glad, 'cause my mother likes you and I loves her—sure pop!"

There was something childish, direct, innocent even about her frankness that fascinated me and her good looks made sunshine in the darkening room.

"I like you, Sophy", I said, "but anyone would have done as much for your mother as I did. She was ill!"

"Hoo!" she snorted indignantly, "most white folk would have let her die right there on the stairs: I know them: they'd have been angry with her for groaning: I hate 'em!" and her great eyes glowered. She came over to me in a flash:

"If you'd been American, I couldn't never have come to you, never! I'd rather have died, or saved and stole and paid you—" the scorn in her voice was bitter with hate: evidently the negro question had a side I had never realised.

"But you're different", she went on, "an' I just came—" and she paused, lifting her great eyes to mine, with an unspoken offer in their lingering regard. "I'm glad", I said lamely, staving off the temptation, "and I hope you'll come again soon and we'll be great friends—eh, Sophy?" and I held out my hand smiling; but she pouted and looked at me with reproach or appeal or disappointment in her eyes. I could not resist: I took her hand and drew her to me and kissed her on the lips, slipping my right hand the while up to her left breast: it was as firm as india-rubber: at once I felt my sex stand and throb: resolve and desire fought in me, but I was accustomed to make my will supreme: