The Monster by Edgar Saltus

The Monster

byEdgar Saltus

Kobo ebook | March 25, 2015

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Chapter I

When the clergyman had gone, the bride turned.

Before her was an open window before which was the open sea. In the air was a tropical languor, a savour of brine, the scent of lilies, the sound of mandolins that are far away. Below, in the garden, were masses of scarlet, high heaps of geranium blooms. A bit beyond was the Caprian blue of the San Diego Bay. There, a yacht rode, white and spacious. The yacht belonged to her husband who was beside her. She turned again and as passionately he embraced her; she coloured.

For the moment, as they stood there, they seemed so sheerly dissimilar that they might have come of alien races, from different zones. He, with his fair hair, his fair skin, his resolute and aggressive face, was typically Anglo-Saxon. She, with her delicate features, her dense black hair, and disquieting eyes, looked like a Madrilene Madonna—one of those fascinating and slightly shocking creations of seventeenth-century art that more nearly resemble infantas serenaded by caballeros than queens of the sky. There was a deeper contrast. He appeared frankly material; she, all soul.

Leisurely she freed herself.

“One might know,” she began, then paused. A smile completed the sentence.

He smiled too.

“Yes, Leilah, one might know that however I hold you to me, I never can hold you enough.”

“And I! I could be held by you forever.”

On the door came a tap, rapid and assured. A page entered, the preoccupation of the tip in his face, in his hand a platter of letters.

The man, taking the letters, dismissed him.

“Miss Ogston,” he continued. “From your father, confound him. It is the last time he will address you in that fashion. Miss Ogston,” he repeated. “From the Silverstairs, I fancy. Gulian Verplank. There is but one for me.”

He looked at his watch. “The launch from the yacht will be here shortly.”

“When do we start?”

“Whenever you like. The Marquesas will keep. Bora-Bora will be the same whenever we get there. Only——”

“Only what?”

“I am in love with you, not with hotels.”

“Let us go then. There will be a moon to-night?”

“A new one, a honeymoon, a honeymoon begun.”

“Gulian! As if it could end!”

In pronouncing the “u” in his name her mouth made the sketch of a kiss.

“You would not wish it to?” he asked.

“When I die, perhaps, and even then only to be continued hereafter. Heaven would not be heaven without you.”

She spoke slowly, with little pauses, in a manner that differed from his own mode of speech, which was quick and forceful.

Verplank turned to the letter that had been addressed to him, and which he still held. Without opening it, he tore it into long, thin strips. It was, he knew from the imprint, a communication of no importance; but, at the moment, the action seemed a reply to her remark. It served to indicate his complete indifference to everything and everyone save her only. Afterward, with a regret that was to be eternal, she wished he had done the same with hers.
Yet, pleased at the time, she smiled.

“Gulian, you do love me, but I wonder do you love me as absolutely as I love you?”

Verplank, with a gesture that was familiar to him, closed and opened a hand.

“I do not know. But while I think you cannot love me more wholly than I love you, I do know that to me you are the unique.”

Leilah moved to where he stood.

“Gulian, and you to me. You are the only one.” She moved closer. Raising her hands, she put them on his shoulders. “Tell me, shall you be long away?”

“An hour or two. Apropos, would you care to leave before dinner?”


“We will dine on board, then. Is there anything in particular you would like?”

“Yes, lilies, plenty of lilies; and pineapples; and the sound of your voice.”

Lifting her hands from his shoulders to his face, she drew it to her own. Their lips met longly. With the savour of her about him, Verplank passed out.

To be continue in this ebook

Title:The MonsterFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 25, 2015Publisher:Pulitzer Publishing CompanyLanguage:English

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