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pleasant, but now-somehow there's nothing in it. She told me the truth about it-Constance did. Don't let those women come back. What if I should love them, William !-love and hate them both at once! William ! William! (A knock at the door.) See who that is. Mind you don't let them in.
Col. G. Martha is there, sir.
Ger. She's but an old woman; she can't keep them out. They would walk over her. All the goddesses have such long legs! You go and look. You'll easily know them : if they've got no irises to their eyes, don't let them in, for the love of God, William! Real women have irises to their eyes : those have none—those frightful snowy beauties. And yet snow is very nice! And I'm so hot! There they come again! Exit Col. G.
Enter MRS. CLIFFORD.
Ger. Aunt! aunt! help me! There they come!
Mrs. C. What is it, my Arthur? They shan't hurt you. I am here. I will take care of
you. Ger. Yes, yes, you will! I am not a bit afraid of them now. Do you know them, aunt? I'll tell you a secret : they are Juno and Diana and Venus.—They hate sculptors. But I never wronged them. Three white
only, between their fingers and behind their knees they are purple —and inside their lips, when they smile—and in the hollows of their eyes—ugh! They want me to love them; and they say you are allall of you women-no better than they are. I know that is a lie ; for they have no eyelids and no irises to their eyes.
Mrs. C. Dear boy, they shan't come near you. Shall I sing to you, and drive them away
? Ger. No, don't. I can't bear birds in my brain.
Mrs. C. How long have you had this headache ? (laying her hand on his forehead.)
Ger. Only a year or two-since the white woman came—that woman (pointing to the Psyche). She's been buried for ages, and won't grow brown.
Mrs. C. There's no woman there, Arthur.
Ger. Of course not. It was an old story that bothered me. Oh, my head! my head ! - There's my father standing behind the door and won't come in !-He could help me now, if he would.
William! show my father in. But he isn't in the story-so he can't.
Mrs. C. Do try to keep yourself quiet, Arthur. The doctor will be here in a few minutes.
Ger. He shan't come here ! He would put the white woman out. She does smell earthy, but I won't part with her. (A knock.) What a devil of a noise! Why don't they use the knocker? What's the use of taking a sledge-hammer?
Mrs. C. It's that stupid James !
Enter CONSTANCE. Mrs. C. goes to meet her.
Mrs. C. Constance, you go and hurry the doctor. I will stay with Arthur.
Con. Is he very ill, aunt?
Ger. Oh, my head! I wish I could find somewhere to lay it!—Sit by me, Constance, and let me lay my head on your shoulderfor one minute-only one minute. It aches so! (She sits down by him. His head sinks on her shoulder. Mrs. C. looks annoyed, and exit.) Con. Thank
dear Arthur! (sobbing). You used to like me! I could not believe
hated me now. You have forgiven me ? Dear head!
He closes his eyes. Slow plaintive music. Ger. (half waking). I can't read. When I get to the bottom of the page, I wonder what it was all about.
I shall never get
to Garibaldi ! and if I don't, I shall never get farther.
If I could but keep that one line away! It drives me mad, mad. “He took her by the lily-white hand.”—I could strangle myself for thinking of such things, but they will come !-I won't go mad. I should never get to Garibaldi, and never be rid of this red-hot ploughshare ploughing up my heart. I will not go mad! I will die like a man.
Con. Arthur! Arthur!
Ger. God in heaven! she is there! And the others are behind her!--Psyche! Psyche ! Don't speak to those women! Come alone, and I will tear my heart out and give it you. -It is Psyche herself now, and the rest are gone! Psyche-listen.
Con. It's only me, Arthur ! your own little Constance! If aunt would but let me stay and nurse you! But I don't know what's come to her : she's not like herself at all.
Ger. Who's that behind you ?