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Blanche de Maletroit, if I have not, I care not one
not a woman in all the world but would prefer death to such a nuptial. Is
it possible," she added, faltering - "is it possible that you do not believe
me - that you still think this" - and she pointed at Denis with a tremor of
anger and contempt - "that you still think THIS to be the man?"
"Frankly," said the old gentleman, pausing on the threshold, "I do. But
let me explain to you once for all, Blanche de Maletroit, my way of thinking
about this affair. When you took it into your head to dishonour my
family and the name that I have borne, in peace and war, for more than
three-score years, you forfeited, not only the right to question my
designs, but that of looking me in the face. If your father had been alive,
he would have spat on you and turned you out of doors. His was the
hand of iron. You may bless your God you have only to deal with the
hand of velvet, mademoiselle. It was my duty to get you married
without delay. Out of pure goodwill, I have tried to find your own gallant
for you. And I believe I have succeeded. But before God and all the Jimmy Choo
holy angels, Blanche de Maletroit, if I have not, I care not one jack-straw.
So let me recommend you to be polite to our young friend; for upon my
word, your next groom may be less appetising."
And with that he went out, with the chaplain at his heels; and the arras
fell behind the pair. Last Chance
The girl turned upon Denis with flashing eyes.
"And what, sir," she demanded, "may be the meaning of all this?"
"God knows," returned Denis gloomily. "I am a prisoner in this house,
which seems full of mad people. More I know not; and nothing do I
"And pray how came you here?" she asked.
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to compose his expression, lifted the arras and went in
To see anything was a
relief to Denis; it was like a piece of solid ground to a man labouring in a
morass; his mind seized upon it with avidity; and he stood staring at it
and trying to piece together some logical conception of his surroundings.
Plainly there was a flight of steps ascending from his own level to that of
this illuminated doorway; and indeed he thought he could make out another
thread of light, as fine as a needle and as faint as phosphorescence,
which might very well be reflected along the polished wood of a handrail.
Since he had begun to suspect that he was not alone, his heart had
continued to beat with smothering violence, and an intolerable desire for
action of any sort had possessed itself of his spirit. He was in deadly peril,
he believed. What could be more natural than to mount the staircase,
lift the curtain, and confront his difficulty at once? At least he would be
dealing with something tangible; at least he would be no longer in the
dark. He stepped slowly forward with outstretched hands, until his foot
struck the bottom step; then he rapidly scaled the stairs, stood for a moment
to compose his expression, lifted the arras and went in.
He found himself in a large apartment of polished stone. There were Mens Yorkville Parka
three doors; one on each of three sides; all similarly curtained with
tapestry. The fourth side was occupied by two large windows and a
great stone chimney-piece, carved with the arms of the Maletroits. Denis
recognised the bearings, and was gratified to find himself in such good Womens Chilliwack Parka
hands. The room was strongly illuminated; but it contained little furniture
except a heavy table and a chair or two, the hearth was innocent of
fire, and the pavement was but sparsely strewn with rushes clearly many