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CHAPTER XXVIII.
"THOUGH LOVE AND LIFE AND DEATH SHOULD COME AND GO."

Isola was alone in the spacious Roman drawing-room, its wide windows open to the soft, warm air. The sun was off that side of the house now, and the Venetian shutters had been pushed back; and between the heavy stone pillars of the loggia she saw the orange and magnolia trees in the garden, and the pale gold of the mimosas beyond. The sun was shining full upon the Hill of Gardens, that hill at whose[Pg 302] foot Nero was buried in secret at dead of night by his faithful freedman and the devoted woman who loved him to the shameful end of the shameful life; that hill whose antique groves the wicked C?sar's ghost had once made a place of terror. The wicked ghost was laid now. Modern civilization had sent Nero the way of all phantoms; and fashionable Rome made holiday on the Hill of Gardens. A military band was playing there this afternoon in the golden light, and the familiar melodies in Don Giovanni were wafted ever and anon in little gusts of sweetness to the loggia where the vivid crimson of waxen camelias and the softer rose of oleander blossoms gave brightness and colour to the dark foliage and the cold white stone.

Isola heard those far-off melodies faint in the distance—heard without heeding. The notes were beyond measure familiar, interwoven with the very fabric of her life, for those were the airs Martin Disney loved, and she had played them to him nearly every evening in their quiet, monotonous life. She heard, unheeding, for her thoughts had wandered back to the night of the ball at Lostwithiel and all that went after it—the fatal night that struck the death-knell of peace and innocence.

How vividly she remembered every detail—her fluttering apprehensions during the long drive on the dark road, up hill and down hill; her eagerness for the delight of the dance, as an unaccustomed pleasure—a scene to which young beauty flies as the moth to the flame; her remorseful consciousness that she had done wrong in yielding to the temptation which drew her there; the longing to see Lostwithiel once more—Lostwithiel, whom she had vowed to herself never to meet again of her own free will. She had gone home that afternoon resolved to forego the ball, to make any social sacrifice rather than look upon that man whose burning words of love, breathed in her ear before she had enough of nerve or calmness to silence him, had left her scathed and geared as if the lightning had blasted her. She had heard his avowal. There was no room now to doubt the meaning[Pg 303] of all that had gone before, no ground now for believing in a tender, platonic admiration, lapping her round with its soft radiance—a light, but not a fire. That which had burnt into her soul to-day was the fierce flame of a dishonouring love, the bold avowal of a lover who wanted to steal her from her husband, and make her a sinner before her God.

She knew this much—had brooded upon it all the evening—and yet she was going to a place where she must inevitably meet the Tempter.

She was going because it was expedient to go; because her persistent refusal to be there might give rise to guesses and suspicions that would lead to a discovery of the real reason of her absence. She had often seen the subtle process, the society search-light by which Trelasco and Fowey could arrive at the innermost working of a neighbour's heart, the deepest mysteries of motive.

She was going to the ball after all, fevered, anxious, full of dim forebodings; and yet with an eager expectancy; and yet with a strange over-mastering joy. How should she meet him? How could she avoid him, without ostentatious avoidance, knowing how many eyes would be quick to mark any deviation from conventional behaviour? Somehow or other she was resolved to avoid all association with him; to get her programme filled before he could ask her to dance; or to refuse in any case if he asked her. He would scarcely venture to approach her after what had been said in the lane, when her indignation had been plainly expressed with angry tears. No, he would hardly dare. And so—in a vague bewilderment at finding she was at her journey's end—she saw the lights of the little town close upon her, and in the next few minutes her carriage was moving slowly in the rank of carriages setting down their freight at the door of the inn.

Vaguely, as in a dream, she saw the lights and the flowers, the satin gowns and the diamonds, the scarlet and white upon the walls, brush and vizard, vizard and brush. He[Pg 304] was not there. She looked along the crowd, and that tall figure and that dark head were absent. She ought to have been glad at this respite, and yet her heart grew heavy as lead.

Later he was there, and she was waltzing with him. At the last moment when he was standing before her, cool, self-possessed, as it were unconscious of that burning past, she had no more power to refuse to be his partner than the bird has to escape from the snake. She had given him her hand, and they were moving slowly, softly to the music of the soft, slow waltz. Myosotis, myosotis—mystic flower which means everlasting remembrance! Would she ever forget this night? Their last meeting—safest possible meeting-place here in the shine of the lamps—in the sight of the multitude. Here she could so easily hold him at a distance. Here she might speak to him lightly, as if she too were unconscious of the past. Here she was safe against his madness and her own weak unstable heart, which fluttered at his smallest word.

And so the night wore on, and she danced with him more times than she could count, forgetting, or pretending to forget, other engagements; going through an occasional waltz with another partner just for propriety's sake, and hardly knowing who that partner was; knowing so well that there was some one else standing against the wall, watching her every movement, with the love-light in his eyes.

Then came the period after supper when they sat in the ante-room and let the dances go by, hearing the music of waltzes which they were to have danced together, hearing and heeding not. And then came a sudden scare at the thought of the hour. Was it late?

Late, very late!

The discovery fluttered and unnerved her, and she was scarcely able to collect her thoughts as he handed her into the carriage and shut the door.

"Surely it was a grey horse that brought me!" she[Pg 305] exclaimed, and in the next minute she recognized Lostwithiel's brougham, the same carriage in which she had been driven home through the rain upon that unforgotten night when his house sheltered her, when she saw his face for the first time.

Yes, it was his carriage. She knew the colour of the lining, the little brass clock, the reading-lamp, the black panther rug. She pulled at the check-string, but without effect. The carriage drove on, slowly, but steadily, to the end of the town. She let down the window and called to the coachman. There was only one man on the box, and he took no notice of her call.

Yes, he had heard, perhaps, for he drew up his horse suddenly by the road-side, a little way beyond the town. A man opened the door and sprang in, breathless after running. It was Lostwithiel.

"You put me into your carriage!" she cried distractedly. "How could you make such a mistake? Pray tell him to go back to the inn directly."

They were driving along the country road at a rapid pace, and he had seated himself by her side, clasping her hand. He pulled up the window nearest her, and prevented her calling to the coachman.

"Why should you go back? You will be home sooner with my horse than with the screw that brought you."

"But the fly will be waiting for me—the man will wonder."

"Let him wonder. He won't wait very long, you may be assured. He will guess what has happened. In the confusion of carriages you took the wrong one. Isola, I am going to leave Cornwall to-night—to leave England—perhaps never to return. Give me the last few moments of my life here. Be merciful to me. I am going away—perhaps for ever."

"Take me home," she said. "Are you really taking home? Is this the right way?"

[Pg 306]

"Of course it is the right way. Do you suppose I am going to drive you to London?"

He let down the glass suddenly, and pointed into the night.

"Isola, do you see where we are? There's the sign-post at the cross roads. There's the tower of Tywardreath Church, though you can hardly see it in this dim light. Are you satisfied now?"

He had drawn up the glass again. The windows were clouded by the mist of their mingled breath; the atmosphere was faint with the odour of the faded chrysanthemums on her gown and the carnation in the lapel of his coat. All that she could see of the outer world was the blurred light of the carriage lamps. The high-spirited horse was going up and down the hills at a perilous pace. At this rate the journey could not take long.

And then—and then—he came back to the prayer he had breathed in her ear more than twelve hours ago in the wintry lane. He loved her, he loved her, he loved her! Could she refuse to go away with him—having woven herself into his life, having made him madly, helplessly in love with her? Could she refuse? Had any woman the right to refuse? He appealed to her sense of honour. She had gone too far—she had granted too much already, granting him her love. She was in his arms in the dim light, in the faint, dream-like atmosphere. He was taking possession of her weak heart by all that science of love in which he was past master. Honour, conscience, fidelity to the absent, piety, innocence were being swept away in that lava flood of passion. Helpless, irresolute, she faltered again and again. "Take me home, Lostwithiel! Have mercy! Take me home."

He stopped those tremulous lips with a kiss—the kiss that betrays. The carriage dashed down a steep bill, rattled along a street so narrow that the wheels seemed to grind against the house-fronts on each side, down hill again, and then the horse was pulled up suddenly in a stony square, and the door opened, and the soft, fresh sea-breeze blew[Pg 307] among her loosened hair, and upon her uncovered neck, and she heard the gentle plish-plash of a boat moored against the quay at her feet.

"This is not home!" she cried piteously.

"Yes, it is home, love, our home for a little while—the home that can carry us to the other end of the world, if you will."

The quay, and the water, and the few faint lights here and there grew dark, and she knew no more, till she heard the sailors crying, "Yeo, heave, yeo," and the heavy sails flapping, and the creak of the boom as it swayed in the wind, and felt the dancing motion of the boat as she cut her way through the waves, felt the strong arm that clasped her, and heard the low, fond voice that murmured in her ear, "Isola, Isola, forgive me! I could not live without you."

That which came afterwards had seemed one long and lurid dream—a dream of fair weather and foul; of peril and despair; of passionate, all-conquering love.

To-day, as she lay supine in the afternoon silence—lying as Tabitha had left her, in a fevered sleep—the vision of that past came back upon her in all its vivid colouring, almost as distinctly as it had re-acted itself in her hours of delirium, when she had lived that tragic chapter of her life over again, and had felt the fury of the waves and breathed the chill, salt air of the tempest-driven sea, and had seen the moon riding high amidst the cloud-chaos—now appearing, now vanishing, as if she too were a storm-driven bark in a raging sea.

Oh God! how vividly those hours came back! The awful progress from Ushant to Arcachon; the darkness of the brief day; the horror of the long night; the shuddering yacht, with straining spars, and broadside beaten by a heaving mass of water, that struck her with the force of a thousand battering-rams, blow after blow, each blow seeming as if the next must always be the last—the final crash and end of all[Pg 308] things. The pretty, dainty vessel, long and narrow, rode like an eggshell on those furious waters—here a long wall of inky blackness, rising like a mountain-ridge, and bearing down on the doomed ship, and beyond, as far as the eye could reach, a waste of surf, livid in the moonlight. What helpless insignificance, as of a leaf tossed on a whirlpool, when that mountainous mass took the yacht and lifted her on cyclopean shoulders, and shook her off again into the black trough of the sea, as into the depths of hell! And this not once only, nor a hundred times only, but on through that endless-seeming night, on in the sickly winter dawn and in the faint yellow gleam of a rainy noontide—on through day that seemed mixed and entangled with night, as if the beginning of creation had come round again, and the light were not yet divided from the darkness.

Oh, those passionate, never-to-be-forgotten moments, when she had stood with him at the top of the companion, looking out upon those livid waters; fondly believing that each moment was to be their last; that the gates of death were opening yonder—a watery way, a gulf to which they must go down, in a moment, in a little moment, in a flash, in a breath, at the next, or the next, or the next mad plunge of that hurrying bark. Yes, death was there, in front of them—inevitable, imminent, immediate—and life and sin, shame, remorse, were done with, along with the years that lay behind them, a page blotted and blurred with one passionate madness, which had changed the colour of a woman's life. She knew not how she bore up against the force of that tempest; clinging to him with her bare, wet arms; held up by him; crouching against the woodwork, which shook and rattled with every blow of the battering-rams. She only knew that his arms were round her, that she was safe with him, even when the leaping surf rose high above her head, wrapping her round like a mantle, blinding, drowning her in a momentary extinction. She only knew that his lips were close to her ear, and that in a momentary lull of those[Pg 309] awful voices he murmured, "We are going to die, Isola! The boat cannot live through such a storm! We shall go down to death together!" And her lips turned to him with a joyful cry, "Thank God!" Then again, in a minute's interval, he pleaded, "Forgive me, love; my stolen love, forgive me before we did!" And again, "Was it a crime, Isola?" "If it was, I forgive you!" she whispered, clinging to him as the blast struck them.

Cruel revulsion of feeling, bitter irony of Fate, when the great grim waves—which had seemed like living monsters hurrying down upon them with malignant fury to tear and to devour—when the awful sea began to roar with a lesser voice, and the thunder of the battering-rams had a duller sound, and the bows of the yacht no longer plunged straight down into the leaden-coloured pit; no longer climbed those inky ridges with such blind impetus, as of a cockle-shell in a whirlpool. Bitter sense of loss and dismay when the grey, cold dawn lighted a quieter sea, and she heard the captain telling Lostwithiel that they had seen the worst of the storm, and that there was no fear now. He was going to put on more canvas: and hadn't the lady better go below, where it was warm. She needn't feel anyway nervous now. They would soon be in the roadstead of Arcachon.

She had not felt the chill change from night to morning. She had not felt the surf that drenched her loose, entangled hair. She hardly know when or how Lostwithiel had wrapped her in his fur-lined coat; but she found that she was so enveloped presently when she stumbled and staggered down to the cabin, and flung herself face downward upon the sofa, in a paroxysm of impotent despair.

Death would have delivered her. The tempest was her friend; and the tempest had passed her by, and left her lying there like a weed, more worthless than any weed that over the sea cast up to rot upon the barren rocks. Yes, she was left there; left in a life that sin had blighted; loathsome to herself, hateful to her God.

[Pg 310]

She locked herself in the cabin, while the hurrying footsteps overhead told her that Lostwithiel was working with the sailors.

An hour later, and he was at the cabin door, pleading for one kind word, entreating her to let him see her, were it only for a few moments, to know that she was not utterly broken down by the peril she had passed through. He pleaded in vain. She would give no answer—she would speak no word. Indeed, in that dull agony of shame and despair it seemed to her as if a dumb devil had entered into her. Her parched lips seemed to have lost the power of speech. She lay there, staring straight before her at all the swinging things on the cedar panel—the books and photographs—and lamps and frivolities, vibrating with every movement of the sea. Her hands were clenched until the nails cut into the flesh. Her heart was throbbing with a dull, slow beat that made itself torturingly audible. Did God create His creatures for such agony? Had she been foredoomed everlastingly—in that awful incomprehensible ante-natal Eternity—foredoomed to this fallen state, to this unutterable shame?

Hours went by, she knew not how. Again and again Lostwithiel came to her door, and talked and entreated—Heaven knows how tenderly—with what deep contrition, with what fond pleading for pardon. But the dumb devil held her still. She wrapped herself in a sullen despair—not anger, for anger is active. Hers was only a supine resistance.

At last she heard him come with one of the sailors, and she could make out from their whispering talk that they were going to force open the door. Then she started up in a fury, and went and flung herself against the cedar panels.

"If you don't leave me alone in my misery I will kill myself!" she cried.

The long night was over; and the sun was high. It seemed as if they were sailing over a summer sea, and through the scuttle port she saw a little foreign town nestling under the shelter of pine-clad hills.

[Pg 311]

She woke from brief and troubled slumbers to see this smiling shore, and at first she fancied they must have sailed back to Cornwall, and that this was some unknown bay upon that rock-bound coast; but the sapphire sea and the summer-like sunshine suggested a fairer clime than rugged Britain.

While she was looking out at the crescent-shaped bay, and the long line of white villas, the anchor was being lowered. The sea was almost as smooth as a lake, and those tranquil waters had the colour and the sheen of sapphire and emerald. She thought of the jasper sea—the sea of the Apocalypse, the tideless sea beside that land of the New Jerusalem where there are no more tears, where there can be no more sin, a city of ransomed souls, redeemed from all earth's iniquity.

A boat was being lowered. She heard the scroop of the ropes in the davits; she heard footsteps on the accommodation-ladder, and then the dip of oars, and presently the boat passed between her and the sunlit waters, and she saw Lostwithiel sitting in the stern, with the rudder-lines in his hands, while two sailors were bending to their oars, with wind-blown hair and cheery, smiling faces, broad and red in the gay morning sunshine.

He was gone, and she breathed more freely. There was a sense of release in his absence; and for the first time she looked round the cabin, where beautiful and luxurious things lay, thrown here and there in huddled masses of brilliant colour. A Japanese screen, a masterpiece of rainbow-hued embroidery on a sea-green ground, flung against the panelling at one end—Persian curtains wrenched from their fastenings and hanging awry—satin pillows that had drifted into a heap in one corner—signs of havoc everywhere. She stood in the midst of all this ruin, and looked at her own reflection in a Venetian glass riveted to the panelling, about the only object that had held its place through the storm.

Her own reflection. Was that really herself, that ghastly[Pg 312] image which the glass gave back to her? The reflection of a woman with livid cheeks and blanched lips, with swollen eyelids, and dark rings of purple round the haggard eyes, and hair rough and tangled as Medusa's locks, and bare shoulders from which the stained satin bodice had slipped away. Her wedding-gown! Could that defiled garment—the long folds of the once shining satin, draggled and dripping with sea-water—could these tawdry rags be the wedding-gown she had put on in her proud and happy innocence in the old bedroom at Dinan, with mother, and servants, and a useful friend or two helping and hindering?

Oh, if they could see her now, those old friends of her unclouded childhood, the mother and father who had loved and trusted her, who had never spoken of evil things in her hearing, had never thought that sin could come near her! And she had fallen like the lowest of womankind. She had forfeited her place among the virtuous and happy for ever. She, Martin Disney's wife! That good man, that brave soldier who had fought for Queen and country—it was his wife who stood there in her shame, haggard and dishevelled!

She flung her arms above her head and wrung her hands in a paroxysm of despair. Then, with a little cry, she plucked at the loose wild tresses as if she would have torn them from her head; and then she threw herself upon the cabin floor in her agony, and grovelled there, a creature for whom death would have been a merciful release.

"If I could die—if I could but die, and no one know!" she moaned.

She lifted herself up again upon her knees, and, with one hand upon the floor, looked round the walls of the cabin—looked at a trophy of Moorish and Italian arms which decorated the panelling, searching for some sharp dagger with which she might take her hated life. And then came the thought of what must follow death, not for her in the dim incomprehensible eternity, but for those who loved her on earth, for those who would have to be told how she had[Pg 313] been found, in her draggled wedding-gown, stabbed by her own hand on board Lord Lostwithiel's yacht. What a story of shame and crime for newspapers to embellish, and for scandal-lovers to gloat over! No! She dared not destroy herself thus. She must collect her senses, escape from her seducer, and keep the secret of her dishonour.

She took off her gown, and rolled train and bodice into a bundle as small as she could make them. Then she looked about the cabin for some object with which to weight her bundle. Yes, that would do. A little brass dolphin that was used to steady the open door. That was heavy enough, perhaps. She put it into the middle of her bundle, tied a ribbon tightly round the whole, and then she opened the scuttle port and dropped her wedding-garment into the sea. The keen fresh wind, the wind from pine-clad hills and distant snow mountains, blew in upon her bare neck and chilled her; but it helped to cool the fever of her mind, and she sat down and leant her head upon her clasped hands, and tried to think what she must do to free herself from the toils in which guilty love had caught her.

She must escape from the yacht. She must go back to England—somehow.

She thought that if she were to appeal to Lostwithiel's honour some spark of better feeling would prevail over that madness which had wrecked her, and he would let her go, he would take her back to England, and facilitate her secret return to the home she had dishonoured. But could she trust herself to make that appeal? Could she stand fast against his pleading, if he implored her to stay with him, to live the life that he had planned for her, the life that he had painted so eloquently, the dreamy, beautiful life amidst earth's most romantic scenes, the life of love in idleness? Could she resist him if he should plead—it might be with tears—he, whom she adored, her destroyer and her divinity? No, she must leave the yacht before he came back to her. But how?

[Pg 314]

There were only men on board. There was no woman to whose compassion she could appeal, no woman to lend her clothes to cover her. She saw herself once again in the Venetian glass, in her long trained petticoat of muslin and lace, so daintily fresh when she dressed for the ball—muslin and lace soddened by the sea, torn to shreds where her feet had caught in the flounces as she stumbled down the companion during last night's storm. A fitting costume in which to travel from Arcachon to London, verily! She opened a door leading to an inner cabin, which contained bed and bath, and all toilet appliances. Hanging against the wall there were three dressing-gowns, the lightest and least masculine of the three being a robe of Indian camel's hair, embroidered with gray silk—a shapeless garment with loose sleeves and a girdle.

Here, within locked doors, she made her hurried toilet, with much cold water. She brushed her long, ragged hair with one of the humblest of the brushes. She would not take so much as a few drops from the great crystal bottle of eau de Cologne which was held in a silver frame suspended from the ceiling. Nothing of his would she touch, nothing belonging to the man who wanted to pour his fortune into her lap, to make his life her life, his estate her estate, his name her name, could she but survive the ordeal of the divorce court, and shake off old ties.

She rolled her hair in a large coil at the back of her head. She put on the camel's hair dressing-gown, and tied the girdle round her long, slim waist, and having done this she looked altogether a different creature from that vision of haggard shame which she had seen just now with loathing. She had a curious Puritan air in her sad coloured raiment, and braided hair.

Scarcely had she finished when she heard the dip of oars, and looking out in an agony of horror at the apprehension of Lostwithiel's return, she saw a boat laden with two big[Pg 315] milliner's baskets, and with a woman sitting in the stem. The men who were rowing this boat were not of the crew of the Vendetta.

She had not long to wonder. She unlocked her door, and went into the adjoining cabin, while the boat came alongside, and woman and baskets were hauled upon the deck.

Three minutes afterwards the cabin-boy knocked at her door, and told her that there was a person from Arcachon to see her, a dressmaker with things that had been ordered for her.

She unlocked the door, for the first time since she locked it at dawn, and found herself face to face with a smiling young person, whose black eyes and olive complexion were warm with the glow of the south, golden in the eyes, carnation on the plump, oval cheeks.

This young person had the honour to bring the trousseau which Monsieur had sent for Madame's inspection. Monsieur had told her how sadly inconvenienced Madame had been by the accident by which all her luggage had been left upon the quay at the moment of sailing. In truth it must have been distressing for Madame, as it had evidently been distressing for Monsieur in his profound sympathy with Madame, his wife. In the meantime she, the young person, had complied with Monsieur's orders, and had brought all that there was of the best and most delicate and refined for Madame's gracious inspection.

The cabin-boy brought in the two baskets, which the milliner opened with an air, taking out the delicate lingerie, the soft silk and softer cashmere—peignoirs, frilled petticoats, a fluff and flutter of creamy lace and pale satin ribbons, transforming simplest garments into things of beauty. She spread out her wares, chattering all the while, and then looked at Madame for approval.

Isola scarcely glanced at all the finery. She pointed to the only plain walking-gown among all the delicate prettinesses, the silks and cashmeres and laces—a grey tweed[Pg 316] tailor-gown, with no adornment except a little narrow black braid.

"I will keep that," she said, "and one set of under-linen, the plainest. You can take all the rest of the things back to your shop. Please help me to dress as quickly as you can—I want to go on shore in the boat that takes you back."

"But, Madame, Monsieur insisted that I should bring a complete trousseau. He wished Madame to supply herself with all things needful for a long cruise in the south."

"He was mistaken. My luggage is safe enough. I shall have it again in a few days. I only want clothes to wear for a day or two. Kindly do what I ask."

Her tone was so authoritative that the milliner complied, reluctantly, and murmuring persuasive little speeches while she assisted Madame to dress. All that she had brought was of the most new—expressly arrived from Paris, from one of the most distinguished establishments in the Rue de la Paix. Fashions change so quickly—and the present fashions were so enchanting, so original. She must be pardoned if she suggested that nothing in Madame's wardrobe could be so new or so elegant as these latest triumphs of an artistic faiseur. Madame took no heed of her eloquence, but hurried through the simple toilet, insisted upon all the finery being replaced in the two baskets, and then went upon deck with the milliner.

"I am going on shore to his lordship," she said, with quiet authority, to the captain.

It was a deliberate lie—the first she had told, but not the last she would have to tell.

She landed on the beach at Arcachon—penniless, but with a diamond ring on her wedding finger—her engagement ring—which she knew, by a careless admission of Martin Disney's, to have cost fifty pounds. She left the milliner, and went into the little town, dreading to meet Lostwithiel at every step. She found a complacent jeweller who was willing to[Pg 317] advance twenty-five Napoleons upon the ring, and promised to return it to her on the receipt of that sum, with only a bagatelle of twenty francs for interest, since Madame would redeem her pledge almost immediately.

Furnished with this money she drove straight to the station, and waited there in the most obscure corner she could find till the first train left for Bordeaux. At Bordeaux she had a long time to wait, still in hiding, before the express left for Paris—and then came the long, lonely journey—from Bordeaux to Paris—from Paris to London—from London to Trelasco. It seemed an endless pilgrimage, a nightmare dream of dark night and wintry day, made hideous by the ceaseless throb of the engine, the perpetual odour of sulphur and smoke. She reached Trelasco somehow, and sank exhausted in Tabitha's arms.

"What day is it?" she asked faintly, looking round the familiar room, as if she had never seen it before.

"Thursday, ma'am. You have been away ten days," the old servant answered coldly.

It was only the next day that Tabitha told her mistress she must leave her.

"There is no need to talk about what has happened," she said. "I have kept your secret. I have let no one know that you were away. I packed Susan off for a holiday the morning after the ball. I don't believe any one knows anything about you—unless you were seen yesterday on your way home."

Then came stern words of renunciation, a conscientious but rather narrow-minded woman's protest against sin.


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