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- The Sisters, v4 - 12/12 -


"You will stay here--here with me," snarled Publius, and taking both her hands by the wrists he clasped them with his iron fingers as with handcuffs. "I am the man and you are the woman, and I will teach you who is to give orders here and who is to obey."

Anger and rage prompted these quite unpremeditated words, and as Klea-- while he spoke them with quivering lips--had attempted with the exertion of all her strength, which was by no means contemptible, to wrench her hands from his grasp, he forced her--angry as he still was, but nevertheless with due regard for her womanliness--forced her by a gentle and yet irresistible pressure on her arms to bend before him, and compelled her slowly to sink down on both knees.

As soon as she was in this position, Publius let her free; she covered her eyes with her aching hands and sobbed aloud, partly from anger, and because she felt herself bitterly humiliated.

"Now, stand up," said Publius in an altered tone as he heard her weeping. "Is it then such a hard matter to submit to the will of a man who will not and cannot let you go, and whom you love, besides?" How gentle and kind the words sounded! Klea, when she heard them, raised her eyes to Publius, and as she saw him looking down on her as a supplicant her anger melted and turned to grateful emotion--she went closer to him on her knees, laid her head against him and said:

"I have always been obliged to rely upon myself, and to guide another person with loving counsel, but it must be sweeter far to be led by affection and I will always, always obey you."

"I will thank you with heart and soul henceforth from this hour!" cried Publius, lifting her up. "You were ready to sacrifice your life for me, and now mine belongs to you. I am yours and you are mine--I your husband, you my wife till our life's end!"

He laid his hands on her shoulders, and turned her face round to his; she resisted no longer, for it was sweet to her to yield her will to that of this strong man. And how happy was she, who from her childhood had taken it upon herself to be always strong, and self-reliant, to feel herself the weaker, and to be permitted to trust in a stronger arm than her own. Somewhat thus a young rose-tree might feel, which for the first time receives the support of the prop to which it is tied by the careful gardener.

Her eyes rested blissfully and yet anxiously on his, and his lips had just touched hers in a first kiss when they started apart in terror, for Klea's name was clearly shouted through the still night-air, and in the next instant a loud scream rang out close to them followed by dull cries of pain.

"The murderers!" shrieked Klea, and trembling for herself and for him she clung closely to her lover's breast. In one brief moment the self- reliant heroine--proud in her death-defying valor--had become a weak, submissive, dependent woman.

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Created the world out of nothing for no other purpose Dreamless sleep after a day brimful of enjoyment Man must subjugate matter and not become subject to it No one believes anything that can diminish his self-esteem Praise out of all proportion to our merit Save them the trouble of thinking for themselves She no longer thought these things--she was possessed by them Taken it upon herself to be always strong, and self-reliant The most terrible of all the gods, are women The sun seems to move too slowly to those who long and wait We seek for truth; the Jews believe they possess it entirely Who always think at second-hand Why so vehement, sister? So much zeal is quite unnecessary


The Sisters, v4 - 12/12

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