Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > The House Behind the Cedars33 > XVI THE BOTTOM FALLS OUT
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 The first effect of Tryon's discovery was, figuratively speaking, to knock the bottom out of things for him. It was much as if a boat on which he had been floating smoothly1 down the stream of pleasure had sunk suddenly and left him struggling in deep waters. The full realization2 of the truth, which followed speedily, had for the moment reversed his mental attitude toward her, and love and yearning3 had given place to anger and disgust. His agitation4 could hardly have escaped notice had not the doctor's attention, and that of the crowd that quickly gathered, been absorbed by the young woman who had fallen. During the time occupied in carrying her into the drugstore, restoring her to consciousness, and sending her home in a carriage, Tryon had time to recover in some degree his self-possession. When Rena had been taken home, he slipped away for a long walk, after which he called at Judge Straight's office and received the judge's report upon the matter presented. Judge Straight had found the claim, in his opinion, a good one; he had discovered property from which, in case the claim were allowed, the amount might be realized. The judge, who had already been informed of the incident at the drugstore, observed Tryon's preoccupation and guessed shrewdly at its cause, but gave no sign. Tryon left the matter of the note unreservedly in the lawyer's hands, with instructions to communicate to him any further developments.  
Returning to the doctor's office, Tryon listened to that genial5 gentleman's comments on the accident, his own concern in which he, by a great effort, was able to conceal6. The doctor insisted upon his returning to the Hill for supper. Tryon pleaded illness. The doctor was solicitous7, felt his pulse, examined his tongue, pronounced him feverish8, and prescribed a sedative9. Tryon sought refuge in his room at the hotel, from which he did not emerge again until morning.
His emotions were varied10 and stormy. At first he could see nothing but the fraud of which he had been made the victim. A negro girl had been foisted11 upon him for a white woman, and he had almost committed the unpardonable sin against his race of marrying her. Such a step, he felt, would have been criminal at any time; it would have been the most odious12 treachery at this epoch13, when his people had been subjugated14 and humiliated15 by the Northern invaders16, who had preached negro equality and abolished the wholesome17 laws decreeing the separation of the races. But no Southerner who loved his poor, downtrodden country, or his race, the proud Anglo-Saxon race which traced the clear stream of its blood to the cavaliers of England, could tolerate the idea that even in distant generations that unsullied current could be polluted by the blood of slaves. The very thought was an insult to the white people of the South. For Tryon's liberality, of which he had spoken so nobly and so sincerely, had been confined unconsciously, and as a matter of course, within the boundaries of his own race. The Southern mind, in discussing abstract questions relative to humanity, makes always, consciously or unconsciously, the mental reservation that the conclusions reached do not apply to the negro, unless they can be made to harmonize with the customs of the country.
But reasoning thus was not without effect upon a mind by nature reasonable above the average. Tryon's race impulse and social prejudice had carried him too far, and the swing of the mental pendulum18 brought his thoughts rapidly back in the opposite direction. Tossing uneasily on the bed, where he had thrown himself down without undressing, the air of the room oppressed him, and he threw open the window. The cool night air calmed his throbbing19 pulses. The moonlight, streaming through the window, flooded the room with a soft light, in which he seemed to see Rena standing20 before him, as she had appeared that afternoon, gazing at him with eyes that implored21 charity and forgiveness. He burst into tears,—bitter tears, that strained his heartstrings. He was only a youth. She was his first love, and he had lost her forever. She was worse than dead to him; for if he had seen her lying in her shroud23 before him, he could at least have cherished her memory; now, even this consolation24 was denied him.
The town clock—which so long as it was wound up regularly recked nothing of love or hate, joy or sorrow—solemnly tolled25 out the hour of midnight and sounded the knell26 of his lost love. Lost she was, as though she had never been, as she had indeed had no right to be. He resolutely27 determined28 to banish29 her image from his mind. See her again he could not; it would be painful to them both; it could be productive of no good to either. He had felt the power a............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved