I went back towards her around the sump. When I was about ten feet from her, at the edge of the sump, she showed me all her sharp little teeth and brought the gun up and started to hiss. I stopped dead, the sump water stagnant and stinking at my back. "Stand there, you son of a bitch," she said. The gun pointed at my chest. Her hand seemed to be quite steady. The hissing sound grew louder and her face had the scraped bone look. Aged, deteriorated, become animal, and not a nice animal. I laughed at her. I started to walk towards her. I saw her small finger tighten on the trigger and grow white at the tip. I was about six feet away from her when she started to shoot. The sound of the gun made a sharp slap, without body, a brittle crack in the sunlight. I didn't see any smoke. I stopped again and grinned at her. She fired twice more, very quickly. I don't think any of the shots would have missed. There were five in the little gun. She had fired four. I rushed her. I didn't want the last one in my face, so I swerved to one side. She gave it to me quite carefully, not worried at all. I think I felt the hot breath of the powder blast a little. I straightened up. "My, but you're cute," I said. Her hand holding the empty gun began to shake violently. The gun fell out of it. Her mouth began to shake. Her whole face went to pieces. Then her head screwed up towards her left ear and froth showed on her lips. Her breath made a whining sound. She swayed. I caught her as she fell. She was already unconscious. I pried her teeth open with both hands and stuffed a wadded handkerchief in between them. It took all my strength to do it. I lifted her up and got her into the car, then went back for the gun and dropped it into my pocket. I climbed in under the wheel, backed the car and drove back the way we had come along the rutted road, out of the gateway, back up the hill and so home. Carmen lay crumpled in the corner of the car, without motion. I was halfway up the drive to the house before she stirred. Then her eyes suddenly opened wide and wild. She sat up. "What happened?" she gasped. "Nothing. Why?" "Oh, yes it did," she giggled. "I wet myself." "They always do," I said. She looked at me with a sudden sick speculation and began to moan.
"Just the age of Alice," mused the Baroness. "How differently people's lives are ordered in this world! But then we must have the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, and we must have the delicate human flowers. Our Alice is one of the latter, a frail blossom to look upon, but she is one of the kind which will bloom out in great splendour under the sunshine of love and happiness. Very few people realise what wonderful reserve force that delicate child possesses. And such a tender heart! She was determined to come with me when she heard of Miss Irving's trouble, but I thought it unwise to take her until I had seen the place. She is so sensitive to her surroundings, and it might be too painful for her. I am for ever holding her back from overtaxing herself for others. No one dreams of the amount of good that girl does in a secret, quiet way; and at the same time she assumes an indifferent air and talks as if she were quite heartless, just to hinder people from suspecting her charitable work. She is such a strange, complicated character."详情 ➢
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