Nella Larsen

Passing

Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
They always took her for an Italian, a Spaniard, a Mexican, or a gipsy. Never, when she was alone, had they even remotely seemed to suspect that she was a Negro. No, the woman sitting there staring at her couldn’t possibly know.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Again she looked up, and for a moment her brown eyes politely returned the stare of the other’s black ones, which never for an instant fell or wavered. Irene made a little mental shrug. Oh well, let her look! She tried to treat the woman and her watching with indifference, but she couldn’t. All her efforts to ignore her, it, were futile. She stole another glance. Still looking. What strange languorous eyes she had!
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
For the first time she was aware that Bellew was not in the little group shivering in the small hallway. What did that mean?
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
What if Clare was not dead?

She felt nauseated, as much at the idea of the glorious body mutilated as from fear.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Should she put on her coat? Felise had rushed down without any wrap. So had all the others. So had Brian. Brian! He mustn’t take cold. She took up his coat and left her own.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
But there would be questions. She hadn’t thought of them, of afterwards, of this. She had thought of nothing in that sudden moment of action.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Quickly she stood up and went noiselessly into the bedroom and closed the door softly behind her.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
“It was an accident, a terrible accident,” she muttered fiercely. “It was.”
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
If only she could be as free of mental as she was of bodily vigour; could only put from her memory the vision of her hand on Clare’s arm!
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Gone! The soft white face, the bright hair, the disturbing scarlet mouth, the dreaming eyes, the caressing smile, the whole torturing loveliness that had been Clare Kendry. That beauty that had torn at Irene’s placid life. Gone! The mocking daring, the gallantry of her pose, the ringing bells of her laughter.

Irene wasn’t sorry. She was amazed, incredulous almost.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Irene stayed behind. She sat down and remained quite still, staring at a ridiculous Japanese print on the wall across the room.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
There was a gasp of horror, and above it a sound not quite human, like a beast in agony. “Nig! My God! Nig!”
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
She ran across the room, her terror tinged with ferocity, and laid a hand on Clare’s bare arm. One thought possessed her. She couldn’t have Clare Kendry cast aside by Bellew. She couldn’t have her free.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Clare stood at the window, as composed as if everyone were not staring at her in curiosity and wonder, as if the whole structure of her life were not lying in fragments before her. She seemed unaware of any danger or uncaring. There was even a faint smile on her full, red lips, and in her shining eyes.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Careful. You’re the only white man here.”
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
So you’re a nigger, a damned dirty nigger!” His voice was a snarl and a moan, an expression of rage and of pain.
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Then the roar of John Bellew’s voice above all the other noises of the room:
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
I’m Redfield. What the devil’s the matter with you?”
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
I’m not wrong! I’ve been to the Redfields and I know she’s with them. You’d better stand out of my way and save yourself trouble in the end.”
Sofia Vasilevahas quoted4 months ago
Come along and talk to me, or listen to me gabble.
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