I haven’t got time.” And he turned me over to my gold-spectacled
Ina reflected a moment, and then told her tale. Dealing now with longer sentences, she betrayed her foreign half.
"Being alone so long," said she, "has made me reflect more than in all my life before, and I now understand many things that, at the time, I could not. He to whom I have given my love, and resigned the art in which I was advancing--with your assistance--is, by nature, impetuous and inconstant. He was born so, and I the opposite. His love for me was too violent to last forever in any man, and it soon cooled in him, because he is inconstant by nature. He was jealous of the public: he must have all my heart, and all my time, and so he wore his own passion out. Then his great restlessness, having now no chain, became too strong for our happiness. He pined for change, as some wanderers pine for a fixed home. Is it not strange? I, a child of the theater, am at heart domestic. He, a gentleman and a scholar, born, bred, and fitted to adorn the best society, is by nature a Bohemian.
"One word: is there another woman?"
"No, not that I know of; Heaven forbid!" said Ina. "But there is something very dreadful: there is gambling. He has a passion for it, and I fear I wearied him by my remonstrances. He dragged me about from one gambling-place to another, and I saw that if I resisted he would go without me. He lost a fortune while we were together, and I do really believe he is ruined, poor dear."
Ashmead suppressed all signs of ill-temper, and asked, grimly, "Did he quarrel with you, then?"
"Oh, no; he never said an unkind word to me; and I was not always so forbearing, for I passed months of torment. I saw that affection, which was my all, gliding gradually away from me; and the tortured will cry out. I am not an ungoverned woman, but sometimes the agony was intolerable, and I complained. Well, that agony, I long for it back; for now I am desolate."
"Poor soul! How could a man have the heart to leave you? how could he have the face?"
"Oh, he did not do it shamelessly. He left me for a week, to visit friends in England. But he wrote to me from London. He had left me at Berlin. He said that he did not like to tell me before parting, but I must not expect to see him for six weeks; and he desired me to go to my mother in Denmark. He would send his next letter to me there. Ah! he knew I should need my mother when his second letter came. He had planned it all, that the blow might not kill me. He wrote to tell me he was a ruined man, and he was too proud to let me support him: he begged my pardon for his love, for his desertion, for ever having crossed my brilliant path like a dark cloud. He praised me, he thanked me, he blessed me; but he left me. It was a beautiful letter, but it was the death-warrant of my heart. I was abandoned."
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