No doubt, too, she has lots of admirers. They aspire to her hand. They write poetry to her. They make love to her. Confound her!" Dacres's voice grew more and more agitated and excited as he spoke, and at length his tirade against his wife ended in something that was almost a roar. Hawbury said nothing, but listened, with his face full of sympathy.
"The ladies ah!" and Dacres's eyes lighted up with a bad, hard light. "I suppose he's another of those precious cavaliers the scum of all lands that dance attendance on my charming wife." "Oh, see here now, my dear fellow, really now," said Hawbury, "none of that, you know. This fellow is a friend of mine, and one of the best fellows I ever saw. You'd like him, old chap. He'd suit you."
'She is like her father's people. I can't help that. 'I shouldn't think you would if you could, Dacres remarked absently; but the sea air, perhaps, enabled me to digest his thoughtlessness with a smile. 'No, I said, 'I am just as well pleased. I think a resemblance to me would confuse me, often. There was a trace of scrutiny in Dacres's glance.
What am I to do? It is dreadful to have to go on and humor his queer fancies." When Tozer started after Dacres he led Minnie by the hand for only a little distance. On reaching the acclivity he seized her in his arms, thus imitating Dacres's example, and rushed up, reaching the top before the other. Then he plunged into the woods, and soon became separated from his companion.
Some of the brigands had given chase, but without effect. Dacres's superior strength and agility gave him the advantage, and his love of life was a greater stimulus than their thirst for vengeance. In addition to this the trees gave every assistance toward the escape of a fugitive, while they threw every impediment in the way of a pursuer.
The prayer was not audible, but now and then words struck upon his ears which gave the key to her other words, and he knew that it was no prayer of remorse for guilt, but a cry for help in sore affliction. Had any thing more been needed to destroy the last vestige of Dacres's former suspicions it was furnished by the words which he now heard.
Yes, she must humor him. She felt his hot kisses on her hand. "You will you will love me, will you not?" he repeated. "Oh, answer me! Answer me, or I shall die!" "Yes," whispered Mrs. Willoughby, faintly. As she said this a cold chill passed through her. But it was too late. Dacres's arms were around her.
The thing seemed to me to be a foregone conclusion. I saw it accomplished, with all its possibilities of disastrous commonplace. I saw all that I have here taken the trouble to foreshadow. So far as I was concerned, Dacres's burden would add itself to my philosophies, voila tout.
Well, I sat for about five minutes, and was just beginning to feel the full sense of my happiness, when the door opened and another lady entered. Hawbury" and Dacres's tones deepened into an awful solemnity "Hawbury, it was the lady that I saw in the carriage yesterday. One look at her was enough.
I should always be a little uncomfortable about it, because it had been taken from my back; but it would not be a matter for the wringing of hands. And yet the hatefulness of the mistake! Dacres's bold talk of a test made no suggestion. Should my invention be more fertile? I thought of something. 'You have said nothing to her yet? I asked. 'Nothing. I don't think she suspects for a moment.