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.