Pendoggat struck his horse, and the animal started back. Brightlyreached his raw hand up the hedge and lifted his basket tenderly. It waslike losing flesh and blood to part with his vases, but freedom frompersecution was worth any ransom. He removed the oil-cloth. What wasleft of the light softened the hideous ware and made the crude colouringendurable.
Such a thing as love without lust was unknown to Pendoggat. His onlyidea of the great passion was to catch hold of a woman, maul her, enjoyher flesh, and her warmth, and the texture of her clothes; the coarse,crude passion which makes a man ruin himself, and destroy the life ofanother, for the pleasure of a moment's madness; that same anarchy ofmind which has dethroned princes, lost kingdoms, and converted houses ofreligion into houses of ill-fame. Pendoggat would not have gone mad overThomasine had she been merely pretty. It was that face of hers, theblood in her, something in the shape of her figure, which had kindledhis fire. All men burn, more or less, and must submit; and when they donot it is because Nature is not striving very hard in them. Much isheard of the morality of Joseph; nothing concerning the age or uglinessof Potiphar's wife. These conventional old tales are wiped out by onetouch of desire, and nothing remains except the overmastering thing. Thetrees cannot help budding in spring. Nature compels it, as she compelsthe desire of the human body also.
Thomasine had left Mrs. Fuzzey's hospitable roof. Pendoggat had seenher, and at once made the discovery that he loved her no longer. Thegirl had changed so much; she seemed to have lost her blood, herwonderful ripeness, her soft flesh, and her passion-provoking look. Shehad become thin and quite unattractive. Pendoggat wondered how he couldever have been so wildly in love with her, and he told her so, addingthat his conscience would not permit him to take her away with him, andit would be nothing less than a grievous sin if he married her withoutlove. He admitted he had sinned occasionally in the past, and he did notwish to add to the number of his transgressions. The wretched girlimplored him to make her a decent woman, as she called it, to keep hispromises, to remember all the oaths that he had sworn. People more thansuspected the truth; the Chegwiddens would not have her back and hadrefused her a character; her father had greeted her with an austerecountenance, had opened his Bible and read for her benefit a damnatoryverse or two from the Revelations of St. John the Divine, and then hadshown her the way out, while her mother had locked the door behind her.Her appearance suggested to them how she had been occupied during herretirement. Measles wouldn't go down with them. She had left Ashland toosoon, but Mrs. Fuzzey would not keep her any longer. The old witch hadkissed and embraced her, had wheedled every penny of her wages out ofher, had declared that she loved her as she had never loved anybody elsein her life, and had then told her to get out. She had no place to goto. She hung to Pendoggat, and implored him to remember what had passedbetween them; but he naturally wanted to forget it. He told Thomasineshe was a sinful woman, and when she made a scene he lost his temper,and reminded her that a girl could make a living on the streets ofPlymouth if she walked them long enough. Afterwards he had a feelingthat he had acted without charity, so he went to chapel and repented,and was forgiven in the usual way. Still he decided he could havenothing more to do with Thomasine. His conscience would not permit it. 1e1e36bf2d