He suddenly swung the car out of the way of a farm-cart. It tilted on the bank. He was a careless driver, yet very quick. But Ursula was frightened. There was always that something regardless in him which terrified her. She suddenly felt he might kill her, by making some dreadful accident with the motor-car. For a moment she was stony with fear.
`Isn't it rather dangerous, the way you drive?' she asked him.
`No, it isn't dangerous,' he said. And then, after a pause: `Don't you like the yellow ring at all?'
It was a squarish topaz set in a frame of steel, or some other similar mineral, finely wrought.
`Yes,' she said, `I do like it. But why did you buy these rings?'
`I wanted them. They are second-hand.'
`You bought them for yourself?'
`No. Rings look wrong on my hands.'
`Why did you buy them then?'
`I bought them to give to you.'
`But why? Surely you ought to give them to Hermione! You belong to her.'
He did not answer. She remained with the jewels shut in her hand. She wanted to try them on her fingers, but something in her would not let her. And moreover, she was afraid her hands were too large, she shrank from the mortification of a failure to put them on any but her little finger. They travelled in silence through the empty lanes.
Driving in a motor-car excited her, she forgot his presence even.
`Where are we?' she asked suddenly.
`Not far from Worksop.'
`And where are we going?'
It was the answer she liked.
She opened her hand to look at the rings. They gave her such pleasure, as they lay, the three circles, with their knotted jewels, entangled in her palm. She would have to try them on. She did so secretly, unwilling to let him see, so that he should not know her finger was too large for them. But he saw nevertheless. He always saw, if she wanted him not to. It was another of his hateful, watchful characteristics.
Only the opal, with its thin wire loop, would go on her ring finger. And she was superstitious. No, there was ill-portent enough, she would not accept this ring from him in pledge.
`Look,' she said, putting forward her hand, that was half-closed and shrinking. `The others don't fit me.'
He looked at the red-glinting, soft stone, on her over-sensitive skin.
`Yes,' he said.
`But opals are unlucky, aren't they?' she said wistfully.
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