At first he had frightened her almost out of her wits. Then, slowly, she became accustomed to him—to his passion, his egotism, his melancholy. She tried then to love him, for she herself was starved of affection, but it was not easy. He demanded from her submission, obedience to his wishes and was content with that. He could not give her tenderness, for he knew nothing of that. If she curled herself close to him, or stroked his hair, he became instantly suspicious—she wanted something out of him—money, of course. Well, she wasn't going to get it, did she hear what he said? Except during the brief moments of their love-making he treated her carelessly, like an apprentice, another boy. He could no more give affection than he could take it. He was ignorant of such things. His desire for her, so swiftly born in the fog and murk of a winter night, persisted in summer lands, blossomed beneath sweeter skies. She was his girl, his partner, and they worked and ate and slept together. He was good to her, too; as he frequently remarked, he didn't beat her, did he, and he gave her plenty to eat and an occasional present.
She was inclined to be too clinging, too dependent upon his every mood, and while in a general manner he approved of this trait in women he discovered that it might occasionally be carried to excess. But he complained, kindly but firmly, reminding himself that she was very young, only fifteen, and she promised to improve. She waited upon him conscientiously, mending his clothes, washing his shirts, sweeping his wagon, airing his sheets. She was as useful as she was charming, and he decided, although he had no intention of being faithful to her, to adopt her as a permanency. And it was something, as he often reminded himself, not to regret an act so impulsive as this abduction of Lina from the depths of Kennington.