`He has been so good in letting me go,' she resumed. `And here's a note I found on my dressing-table, addressed to you.'
`Yes. He's not an unworthy fellow,' said Jude, glancing at the note. `And I am ashamed of myself for hating him because he married you.'
`According to the rule of women's whims I suppose I ought to suddenly love him, because he has let me go so generously and unexpectedly,' she answered smiling. `But I am so cold, or devoid of gratitude, or so something, that even this generosity hasn't made me love him, or repent, or want to stay with him as his wife; although I do feel I like his large-mindedness, and respect him more than ever.'
`It may not work so well for us as if he had been less kind, and you had run away against his will,' murmured Jude.
`That I never would have done.'
Jude's eyes rested musingly on her face. Then he suddenly kissed her; and was going to kiss her again. `No - only once now - please, Jude!'
`That's rather cruel,' he answered; but acquiesced. `Such a strange thing has happened to me,' Jude continued after a silence. `Arabella has actually written to ask me to get a divorce from her - in kindness to her, she says. She wants to honestly and legally marry that man she has already married virtually; and begs me to enable her to do it.'
`What have you done?'
`I have agreed. I thought at first I couldn't do it without getting her into trouble about that second marriage, and I don't want to injure her in any way. Perhaps she's no worse than I am, after all! But nobody knows about it over here, and I find it will not be a difficult proceeding at all. If she wants to start afresh I have only too obvious reasons for not hindering her.'
`Then you'll be free?'
`Yes, I shall be free.'
`Where are we booked for?' she asked, with the discontinuity that marked her to-night.
`Aldbrickham, as I said.'
`But it will be very late when we get there?'
`Yes. I thought of that, and I wired for a room for us at the Temperance Hotel there.'
`Yes - one.'
She looked at him. `Oh Jude!' Sue bent her forehead against the corner of the compartment. `I thought you might do it; and that I was deceiving you. But I didn't mean that!'
In the pause which followed, Jude's eyes fixed themselves with a stultified expression on the opposite seat. `Well!' he said.... `Well!'
He remained in silence; and seeing how discomfited he was she put her face against his cheek, murmuring, `Don't be vexed, dear!'
`Oh - there's no harm done,' he said. `But - I understood it like that.... Is this a sudden change of mind?'
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