The Romantic

May Sinclair
The Romantic

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Title: The Romantic
Author: May Sinclair
Release Date: August 25, 2004 [EBook #13292]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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Every kind and beautiful thing on earth has been made so by some
Saying of the Romantic


BOOK ONE Charlotte Redhead
BOOK TWO John Roden Conway



They turned again at the end of the platform.
The tail of her long, averted stare was conscious of him, of his big,
tweed-suited body and its behaviour, squaring and swelling and
tightening in its dignity, of its heavy swing to her shoulder as they
She could stave off the worst by not looking at him, by looking at other
things, impersonal, innocent things; the bright, yellow, sharp gabled
station; the black girders of the bridge; the white signal post beside it
holding out a stiff, black-banded arm; the two rails curving there, with
the flat white glitter and sweep of scythes; pointed blades coming
together, buried in the bend of the cutting.
Small three-cornered fields, clean edged like the pieces of a puzzle, red
brown and pure bright green, dovetailed under the high black bar of the
bridge. She supposed you could paint that.
Clear stillness after the rain. She caught herself smiling at the noise her
boots made clanking on the tiles with the harsh, joyous candour that he
hated. He walked noiselessly, with a jerk of bluff knickerbockered hips,
raising himself on his toes like a cat.
She could see him moving about in her room, like that, in the half
darkness, feeling for his things, with shamed, helpless gestures. She
could see him tiptoeing down her staircase, furtive, afraid. Always
afraid they would be found out.
That would have ruined him.
Oh well--why should he have ruined himself for her? Why? But she
had wanted, wanted to ruin herself for him, to stand, superb and
reckless, facing the world with him. If that could have been the way of

That road over the hill--under the yellow painted canopy sticking out
from the goods station--it would be the Cirencester road, the Fosse
Way. She would tramp along it when he was gone.
He must have seen her looking at the clock. Three minutes more.
Suddenly, round the bend, under the bridge, the train.
He was carrying it off fairly well, with his tight red face and his stare
over her head when she looked at him, his straight smile when she said
"Good-bye and Good-luck!"
And her silly hand clutching the window ledge. She let go, quick,
afraid he would turn sentimental at the end. But no; he was settling
down heavily in his corner, blinking and puffing over his cigar.
That was her knapsack lying on the seat there. She picked it up and
slung it over her shoulder.
Cirencester? Or back to Stow-on-the-Wold? If only he hadn't come
there last night. If only he had let her alone.
She meditated. She would have to wire to Gwinnie Denning to meet
her at Cirencester. She wondered whether Gwinnie's mother's lumbago
would last over the week-end. It was Friday. Perhaps Gwinnie had
started. Perhaps there would be a wire from her at the hotel.
Going on to Cirencester when you wanted to be in Stow-on-the-Wold,
what was it but a cowardly retreat? Driven out of Stow-on-the-Wold by
Gibson? Not she!
Dusk at ten o'clock in the morning under the trees on the mile-long hill.
You climbed up and up a steep green tunnel. The sun would be blazing
at its mouth on the top. Nothing would matter. Certainly not this affair
with Gibson Herbert. She could see clearly her immense, unique
passion thus diminished. Surprising what a lot of it you could forget.
Clean forget. She supposed you forgot because you couldn't bear to
But there were days that stood out; hours; little minutes that thrilled
you even now and stung.
This time, two years ago, that hot August. The day in the office when
everything went wrong all at once and the clicking of her typewriter
maddened him and he sent her out of his room.

The day when he kept her over-time. The others had gone and they
were there by themselves, the big
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