Margaret, slept badly, and next day she was unable to work as usual. She was sure that Haddo’s sudden illness was a trick by which he wanted to get into the studio. And there he had taken advantage of her pity in order to use his hypnotic power. But no matter how she tried, she could not get the man out of her thoughts. Work could not distract her, and between her and all the actions of everyday life stood Oliver Haddo. Although she repeated to herself that she wanted never to see him again, Margaret could hardly resist an overwhelming desire to go to him. Her will had been taken from her, and she was an automaton. He had given her that address because he knew she would use it. She did not know why she wanted to go to him; she had nothing to say to him; she knew only that it was necessary to go.
Instead of going to the class, which was held at six in the evening, she hurried to the address that Oliver Haddo had given her. She walked along the crowded street stealthily, as though afraid that someone would see her, and her heart was beating violently. She ran up the stairs and knocked at the door. In a moment Oliver Haddo stood before her. He did not seem astonished that she was there.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said.
“You knew I should come.”
“What have I done to you that you make me so unhappy? I want you to leave me alone.”
“I shall not prevent you from going out if you want to go. The door is open.”
Her heart beat quickly and she remained silent. She knew that she did not want to go. There was something that drew her strangely to him, and she could not resist.
He began to talk with that low voice of his that thrilled her with a curious magic. He told her of strange Eastern places, of the moonlight nights of the desert, of the sunsets with their splendour and of the crowded streets at noon. The beauty of the East rose before her,
and life itself seemed open to her, a life of freedom, a life of supernatural knowledge. She shuddered at the comparison between the dull life which awaited her as Arthur’s wife and this bright, full existence. But it was possible for her also to enjoy the wonders of the world. She felt a sudden desire for adventures. As though fire passed through her, she sprang to her feet and stood with flashing eyes bright with multi-coloured pictures that his magic presented.
Oliver Haddo stood too, and they faced one another. Then with a quick movement he took her in his arms and kissed her lips.
She looked at him. “I think I love you,” she said, hoarsely.
“Now you must go,” he said.
He opened the door, and, without another word, she went.
Then Margaret felt every day that uncontrollable desire to go to him. There was always that violent hunger of the soul which called her to him, and the only happy hours she had were those spent in his company. She could not now imagine her life apart from his. Sometimes, suffering agonies of remorse, she would lie in bed at night and think with shame of the way she was using Arthur. But things had gone too far now, and she could not change them.
At last Haddo thought the time came for the final step.
“It may interest you to know that I’m leaving Paris on Thursday,” he said one afternoon.
She jumped to her feet and stared at him in astonishment.
“But what will become of me?”
“You will marry the excellent Mr. Burdon.”
“You know I cannot live without you. How can you be so cruel?”
‘Then the only alternative is that you should marry me.”
She sank helplessly into her chair.