Phase the First: The Maiden
11. CHAPTER XI
The twain cantered along for some time without speech,
Tess as she clung to him still panting in her triumph,
yet in other respects dubious. She had perceived that
the horse was not the spirited one he sometimes rose,
and felt no alarm on that score, though her seat was
precarious enough despite her tight hold of him. She
begged him to slow the animal to a walk which Alec
"Neatly done, was it not, dear Tess?" he said by and
"Yes!" said she. "I am sure I ought to be much obliged
"And are you?"
She did not reply.
"Tess, why do you always dislike my kissing you?"
"I suppose--because I don't love you."
"You are quite sure?"
"I am angry with you sometimes!"
"Ah, I half feared as much." Nevertheless, Alec did
not object to that confession. He knew that anything
was better then frigidity. "Why haven't you told me
when I have made you angry?"
"You know very well why. Because I cannot help myself
"I haven't offended you often by love-making?"
"You have sometimes."
"How many times?"
"You know as well as I--too many times."
"Every time I have tried?"
She was silent, and the horse ambled along for a
considerable distance, till a faint luminous fog, which
had hung in the hollows all the evening, became general
and enveloped them. It seemed to hold the moonlight in
suspension, rendering it more pervasive than in clear
air. Whether on this account, or from
absent-mindedness, or from sleepiness, she did not
perceive that they had long ago passed the point at
which the lane to Trantridge branched from the highway,
and that her conductor had not taken the Trantridge