"I don't care," she laughed hollowly now. "Yes, I know what you are going to tell me. Soon I'll be 'hunting the cocaine bug, as they call it, imagining that in my skin, under the flesh, are worms crawling, perhaps see them, see the little animals running around and biting me." She said it with a half-reckless cynicism. "Oh, you don't know.
It was, indeed, becoming visible in his audacious and watchful stare, in the curve, half-reckless, half-contemptuous, of his lips. And a French phrase came upon them as if, for this Costaguanero of the Boulevard, that had been the only forcible language "Non, Madame. Rien n'est perdu." It electrified Mrs. Gould out of her benumbed attitude, and she said, vivaciously
He got to his feet and stood staring into the gathering gloom as though he would make out across the flat miles the flying buckboard. "After all," he told himself, with a restless, half-reckless little laugh, "why not?" He turned and went back toward the town. On his way he overtook a boy, a little fellow of eight or nine, driving a milk-cow ahead of him.
So I haven't made matters any worse by boltin'. But we are honor bound to go back and have them out or see it through with them. So you can make up your soul, young fellah my lad, for it will be one way or the other before evenin'." I have tried to imitate here Lord Roxton's jerky talk, his short, strong sentences, the half-humorous, half-reckless tone that ran through it all.
Who can name the hour when buoyant, thoughtless, half-reckless youth felt the first sobering touch of manhood, or recall the day when he passed over the summit of his life, and faced the long decline of age? As imperceptibly do the seasons blend when one passes and merges into another.
He hid his face in his hands a moment, then threw up his head, squared his shoulders as if settling some load upon them, and said, with the dogged look, and half-resolute, half-reckless tone he had used when he first came, "I did it; now you may do what you like to me, but I won't say another word about it." "Not even that you are sorry?" asked Mr. Bhaer, troubled by the change in him.
What struck her at once was his gravity; and he must have seen the droop in her eyes, for he immediately assumed the pleasant, half-reckless smile which the world of London society had learnt to associate with his name.
The hills of Afghanistan must have re-echoed to his tread, else why the green and crimson ribbon that mingled with the rest? His eyes had flashed along the advancing lines of charging impi, led by Zulu chiefs. Yet never had they flashed with braver light than now, when, facing that half-mocking, half-reckless crowd, he cried: "Prepare ter meet yer God!"
He stood at the upper end of the gangway as the malgamite workers filed off a sorry crew, narrow-chested, hollow-eyed, with that half-hopeless, half-reckless air that tells of a close familiarity with disease and death. He nodded to them airily as they passed him. Some of them took the trouble to answer his salutation, others seemed indifferent. A few glanced at him with a sort of dull wonder.
It was Stella who answered him, in her voice a note that sounded half-reckless, half-defiant. "It isn't given to every woman to dance at her own funeral," she said: "Captain Monck has kindly consented to assist at the orgy of mine." "Stella!" protested Tommy, flushing. "I hate to hear you talking like that!" Stella laughed a little, softly, as though at the vagaries of a child.