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that we realize it is really absolving us from being a prey to it. But
the truth is that sex is right in the middle of our purest abstractions,
so close that it obscures vision.... I can kiss you now and will. ..."
He leaned toward her in his saddle, but she drew away.
"I can't--I can't kiss you now--I'm more sensitive."
"You're more stupid then," he declared rather impatiently. "Intellect is
no protection from sex any more than convention is..."
"What is?" she fired up. "The Catholic Church or the maxims of
Amory looked up, rather taken aback.
"That's your panacea, isn't it?" she cried. "Oh, you're just an old
hypocrite, too. Thousands of scowling priests keeping the degenerate
Italians and illiterate Irish repentant with gabble-gabble about the
sixth and ninth commandments. It's just all cloaks, sentiment and
spiritual rouge and panaceas. I'll tell you there is no God, not even
a definite abstract goodness; so it's all got to be worked out for the
individual by the individual here in high white foreheads like mine, and
you're too much the prig to admit it." She let go her reins and shook
her little fists at the stars.
"If there's a God let him strike me--strike me!"
"Talking about God again after the manner of atheists," Amory said
sharply. His materialism, always a thin cloak, was torn to shreds by
Eleanor's blasphemy.... She knew it and it angered him that she knew it.
"And like most intellectuals who don't find faith convenient," he
continued coldly, "like Napoleon and Oscar Wilde and the rest of your
type, you'll yell loudly for a priest on your death-bed."
Eleanor drew her horse up sharply and he reined in beside her.
"Will I?" she said in a queer voice that scared him. "Will I? Watch!
_I'm going over the cliff!_" And before he could interfere she had
turned and was riding breakneck for the end of the plateau.
He wheeled and started after her, his body like ice, his nerves in a
vast clangor. There was no chance of stopping her. The moon was under a
cloud and her horse would step blindly over. Then some ten feet from
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