|Chapter Title||TEBLY AVGED.|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||Love and Passion|
" Guy I for the love of Heaven, believe me I Listen to me, my darling, or I shall go mad I Bee I I am on my knees before you I No J no I do not spurn me. Buy ; I swear most solemnly that this terrible accu- sation is false I I have been true to you, my husband, in thought, word, and deed I Have I not proved my love for you P For your dear sake, I have given up home, father, friends, sod the esteem of the world. I can do no more. If you do not believe me, Guy believe that I love you with my whole heart, and have never wronged you, not even the shadow of a wrong-then, indeed, there is nothing left me but to
He turned his dark, beautiful eyes, full of slow scorn,.upon this woman who groveled at his feet the woman whom he bad sworn to " love, honor, and cherish" until death should part them. His wife I No, never any more 1 Never his wife again, unless she could clear from her purity the awful taint of suspicion-the certainty, rather, of her false- hood. For had he notj Been her in Alton Carroll's armsP Did he not witness the mad, passionate kisses Bhowered upon her lips-not once alone, but thrice P
For Guy Rossiter had no knowledge-could never have-of how completely she was in this man's power-how thoroughly she feared bim. And how could the outraged husband know or understand that the whole scene which he bad witnessed, was but a portion of the diabolical plot arranged to ruin and blight two lives? No; nothing could change bis determination; he was inexorable and unalter- able in this,
He had witnessed her perfidy, nothing could change his decision ; she was no longer wife of hie. So he turned his scornful glance upon the slender figure crouching at his feet with wild, agonized eyes,
and white face uplifted in piteous entreaty ; he gazed" I at her and smiled-simply that.
" Get up, Mrs, Rossiter," be said, sneeringly. " You are wasting time and strength. I never did appreciate heroics. Rise, and prepare for a return to Lawrence Park and you father. The same roof can- not shelter you and me ; and the sooner you start the better, I believe I have silenced Alton Carroll's love-making for the present, If I have not effectually quieted him, I swear that I shall do it, sooner or
later I" '
And he did not dream that these rash words were overheard, and destined to arise and confront him some future day.
Even BB he spoke the door of the room opened silently from without and two men entered-two men in uniform, with silver badges npon their
" Sorry to trouble you, sir," began the foremost, with a clear, English accent, " but the body of Mr. Carroll has just been found, and we have orders to I take you into custody."
Guy Rossiter turned and confronted them like a wild beast suddenly brought to bay, facing them with a stem, white face, and wild, angry eyes.
" What do you mean ?" he thundered.
"Mr. Carroll has been murdered," replied the offioer ; " and there is overwhelming evidence which points to you as the guilty murderer. You will have
to come with us."
Alicia had struggled to her feet at the entrance of the officers. Shs stood before them now like an ex- quisitely carved marble statue, not the trembling of
a muselé to indícate that she still lived. But as the man dropped his hand upon her husband's shoulder as though to take him into custody, she tottered forward slightly, and with a wild shriek of horror and agony which rang in their eara for many a day, she fell npon a seat in a dead swoon.
Guy cast a furtive glance upon the white, sense- less fees, and his Up eurled in disdain. Ah love for this woman bad vanished from his heart as com- pletely as though it had never existed. Ab quietly and suddenly as it had entered, so did it now de- part, and his short-lived passion was in tatters. He bowed coldly to the officers, and taking his hat ao I companied them.
I He had scarcely gone, when the door opened and
Easica entered the room. Rhe was áspale as a ghost and her eyes were wild with horror.
" I never meant that he should die," she muttered, nnder her breath. " I did not intend 'that QAIton Carroll should ready meet his death : but since it is done. I have no alternative but to carry out my plana alone and unaided, and I must save Guy Ros- siter from a fearful fate, though I suffer in his stead."
She paused abruptly as her eyes fell upon the un- conscious Alicia. Gliding like a serpent to her side Essioa laid a cold hand upon her shoulder. The face bent above the insensible form was set in wordless hatred, and the eyes wera full of a peculiar brassy light which meant mischief.
" I hate her 1" shs muttered, harshly. " I could Ml her as she lies before mel Better for her if ehe should never waken from this swoon. But no-she will live to curse the earth I Yet I believe the day will dawn when she will look back upon this hour, and wish that she had never opened her eyes on the light again; that she had died here as she lies insensible F»
Something-perhaps it was the hatred and bitter seam in Essica Carroll's voice-brought the life-blood back to Alicia's heart. She moved slightly, a faint tinge of colour stained her waxen cheeks, her lipa parted, and one word " Ouys" flutttred forth.
" Get up," oommanded Essica, coldly. " I have somethingjto say to] you. And, possibly you have forgotten that your Guy is a prisoner on the charge of murder J"
Slowly Alicia Rossiter'« blue eyes fluttered open ; tremblingly she tottered to her feet, gazing about her in wild bewilderment; then her eyes rested upon the cold, hard, pitiless face before her, and with a andden passionate gesture she caught her cousin's hand in both her ow,n cold palms.
"Essica| Essica I" she moaned, "are you never going to forgive me for that dead and gone sin P For the love of Hsaven have pity on me and my forlorn condition I Listen I"
She bent her golden head and whispered something ia Essica's ear. An angry flame of color dyed the cheek of her listener for an instant, then she turned away Tri th a gesture of contempt
" That is no coBOern of mine," she sneered, in a cold, cutting voice. " How dare you stand there and with brazen effrontery" beg mt to forgive you Forgive you, Alicia Rossiter ? You must be mad ! No-never I never 1 Not though I pay the price of eternal ruin for my vengeance. I bate you-¿aie yon-hats you I"
She paused to catch her breath, and her dark eyes glinted savagely, as she continued in|a low, sibilant
"Listen to me, Alicia Rossiter! understand me this is my vengeance I I, and I alone, have done this. I have estranged your husband's heart from you, stricken his love dead, and sent him outlawed, dis- graced, under a bap, out into the world to die a felon's death I Or, Bhould he escape that penalty, to fly from bis home, his friends, with a price npon his
" When you wronged me, Alicia Rossiter, you for- got that sin sometimes recoils npon the head of the sinner; and there is an old commandment somewhere in the Bible which tells u. that " the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children." Don't forget that, Mrs. Rossiter* in the long, dark days to come, when your child, che child of an outlaw, felon, mur' derer, nestles apon yonr breast.
" And this is not all, madam ; I have not done with you yet ; You have still another cup of sorrow and disgrace to drain to the bitter droga. Do you know, have you never suspected that there is a stain upon your birth, a secret sin that had left a blighting mark, a blot upon your name that can never be effaced P I know the hideous truth ; so listen to me, Mrs. bossiter, while I tell you who and what you
In her mad frenzy she bad not observed that the door had been pushed open, and the slim figure of a girl in a plain grey travelling suit was standing at her side. A girl with great violent eyes fixed upon Essica's stormy face in unutterable horror. One step, and «he dropped a slim band upon Essica Carroll's
" Love your enemies," she said, in a sweet, silvery voice, " and to render good for evil is godlike. For- give me, I have no right to advise," she went on, softly ; " but I could not refrain from Bpeaking. I was sent here to find Mrs. Carroll," she added, apolo- getically. " I seek an explanation, I am Ruth Car- roll, and I have come home to take possession of my fortune. Finding my cousin abroad, I have followed bim here, TeU me, madam, where is Alton Car» roll?" '
And the elehoe of death answered her,