"I never knew such an unreasonable — such a dog-in-the-manger feeling," said Jude. "I am not to approach you, nor anybody else!"
"Oh don't you UNDERSTAND my feeling! Why don't you! Why are you so gross! I jumped out of the window!"
"Jumped out of window?"
"I can't explain!"
It was true that he did not understand her feelings very well. But he did a little; and began to love her none the less.
"I — I thought you cared for nobody — desired nobody in the world but me at that time — and ever since!" continued Sue.
"It is true. I did not, and don't now!" said Jude, as distressed as she.
"But you must have thought much of her! Or — "
"No — I need not — you don't understand me either — women never do! Why should you get into such a tantrum about nothing?"
Looking up from the quilt she pouted provokingly: "If it hadn't been for that, perhaps I would have gone on to the Temperance Hotel, after all, as you proposed; for I was beginning to think I did belong to you!"
"Oh, it is of no consequence!" said Jude distantly.
"I thought, of course, that she had never been really your wife since she left you of her own accord years and years ago! My sense of it was, that a parting such as yours from her, and mine from him, ended the marriage."
"I can't say more without speaking against her, and I don't want to do that," said he. "Yet I must tell you one thing, which would settle the matter in any case. She has married another man — really married him! I knew nothing about it till after the visit we made here."
"Married another? ... It is a crime — as the world treats it, but does not believe."
"There — now you are yourself again. Yes, it is a crime — as you don't hold, but would fearfully concede. But I shall never inform against her! And it is evidently a prick of conscience in her that has led her to urge me to get a divorce, that she may remarry this man legally. So you perceive I shall not be likely to see her again."
"And you didn't really know anything of this when you saw her?" said Sue more gently, as she rose.
"I did not. Considering all things, I don't think you ought to be angry, darling!"
"I am not. But I shan't go to the Temperance Hotel!"
He laughed. "Never mind!" he said. "So that I am near you, I am comparatively happy. It is more than this earthly wretch called Me deserves — you spirit, you disembodied creature, you dear, sweet, tantalizing phantom — hardly flesh at all; so that when I put my arms round you I almost expect them to pass through you as through air! Forgive me for being gross, as you call it! Remember that our calling cousins when really strangers was a snare. The enmity of our parents gave a piquancy to you in my eyes that was intenser even than the novelty of ordinary new acquaintance."
"Say those pretty lines, then, from Shelley's 'Epipsychidion' as if they meant me!" she solicited, slanting up closer to him as they stood. "Don't you know them?"
"I know hardly any poetry," he replied mournfully.
"Don't you? These are some of them:
There was a Being whom my spirit oft Met on its visioned wanderings far aloft.
* * * * *
A seraph of Heaven, too gentle to be human, Veiling beneath that radiant form of woman...
Oh it is too flattering, so I won't go on! But say it's me! Say it's me!"
"It is you, dear; exactly like you!"
"Now I forgive you! And you shall kiss me just once there — not very long." She put the tip of her finger gingerly to her cheek; and he did as commanded. "You do care for me very much, don't you, in spite of my not — you know?"
"Yes, sweet!" he said with a sigh; and bade her good-night.