Chapter 18935892

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter TitleCHECKMATE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18935892
Full Date1884-09-06
Page Number20
Corrections0
Word Count855
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleLove and Passion
article text

CHAPTER IV.

OHBOKMATB.

Six months had elapsed sinoe that dark marriage morn, since Guy Ro&siter had fled, like a thief in the night, with the woman who had won his love ;' air months that had passed like a dream of bliss. He was proud of his wife-proud of her beauty, which heightened by the rich attire without which existence would have been a blank, brought countless ad* mirera to her feet. Proud to think that she was his, and that the rest of|the world of mankind must per- force worship from a respectful distance.

I do not wish to imply that hejwas happy. How could any man be really and truly happy upon whose conscience rested such a weight of dishonor? Trae, he had not munt to do wrong. Only at that last moment, when the day appointed for his marriage with Essica Valdez drew near, he had wavered in his allegiance to his betrothed, for Alicia had sworn to win him, and her power over him was great. Essioa never dreaming of such treacaery, was quite unsus- picious, and so the evil was done.

Since that guilty flight from Lawrence Park the -wedded pair had whiled away their time in travel, They had crossed the ooean, and had wandered through Southern France, thence to Italy,

Geoffrey Lawrence never wrote to his daughter; perhaps he did not wish the world to know how sin- cerely hee approved of the course she bad taken. He had forwarded her a check for a large amount, and that was the sole communication that she had re- ceived, And as Mr, and Mrs, Rossiter made no friends abroad who could furnish them the latest gossip from America, and they had no correspondents there» they did not dream of the subsequent events.

Guy Rossiter worshipped his wife; there waa no mistake about that. Whatever wonderful power this woman wielded over him, she had made him her bumble subject, and had chained him to her side with chains of flowers. But they were bonds all the same. He asked no greater pleasure than to be with her, gazing into the lovely, azare eyes, and holding the little, white hands, whieh he loved to deck with with the most costly jewels. To him she was the

most beautiful woman under the sun: and in her pre eence EeBica's dark loveliness was forgotten-quite. He was fickle, and unstable, and mercurial in tem* perament, not the sort of aman to trust ¡yet these two women loved him with a mad, wild, unreasoning passion, stronger than life, relentless as death itself« Guy and Alicia were lounging one morning in a certain old art gallery in Florence-lovely Florence" the]" city of lilies." An ancient gallery it wbb, filled with me paintings and marble statues, the work of hands long since crumbled into dust; while Alicia was like a picture herself, in a robe of dark blue silk with rich white lace] all about her, and diamonds in her ears and on her breast. They bad the gallery to themselves, end she lounged idly in a low easy chair,|her husband-handsome as an Eeastem prince in a fairy tale-beading over her, with de- votion in his splendid eyes.

" I have been thinking of Essioa to day," observed Alicia, glancing into his fase, sa though to mark the

effect of her words.

He started slightly, and his dark faee flashed, and then grew pale.

" So have I, ' he returned slowly. " I was wondai Ing what happened-after-"

1 " After we ran away," supplemented Alicia, with s disagreeable laugh, J0h, I can fancy the storm, Guy"-and she glanced into his faca with esgar, searching eyes-" answer me. Do you regret the past P Are you sorry for the step that we have

taken P"

He stooped and kissed the lovely red Ups.

" Sorry P No, no-a thousand times no F he panted, eagerly. " My darling, how can you ask me that? I am perfectly happy"-he caught his breath hard, as though drinking in delicious draughts of'rapto» -" porfectly happy and content, Andjyou, Alicia tell me, will you love me always even as youdo now?

There was a ring of sadness in his eager earnest voles: bul she smiled archly, as she answered:

" Love yon, Gay P You aro an absurd boy to suggest the possibility of a change in me. What posasses you to asksuoh a foolish, question?"

He tried to force a smile.

" I do not know," he returned, slowly. "Perhaps it is the shadow of premonition. You were always food of admiration, Alicia ; and, somehow, I feared that possibly you might not be contented forever with the adulation of one heart,"

She laughed a light little laugh ; but an acotó observer would have caught a hollow tone to the silvery ripple.

, " Admiration is well enough, dear," she answered, "Surely yon do not object to thatP Yon ought to be proud of having a wife who is-well, not alto- gether hideous." -

He caoght her in his arms and kissed her raptur- ously.

(To if eontinned}