|Chapter Number||VIII (CONTINUED)|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||Love and Passion|
<Proa> »(Hab, Aaitrlcan, an« attur FarlaAieal«.)
LOYE AND PASSION.
She laid her white hand ov«r his lips with the ont
7 " Wait."
,' He would atop at nothing now to gai» her for big bride, this woman WIK.M be had once so vilely and falsely deserted, " How blessings brighten as they take their fli.bt;" perhaps it was so in his essend Weall know tour nothing le quite so desirable aß that which we have not, ead can scarcely hope to
Hegaxed at her with kindling eyes, and;would baye,'caught her in hia arms, but she repulsed;»!*,
"Bare you no message for Aliciaf" she Diked, calmly,
The question, cool and unexpected, brought him back to his senses, Bis''lnce grew'ghostly white, Bud l)e reeled as though be had received a blow. He Bad forgotten Alici , and-she was bia wife j ne very «ncommon occurrence ia real life, after aji.
Het hesitated a moment ; the twilight shadows trerálb^ginning to gather ia the corners'ó£ bis cell >
the* warder rapped upon the «loor, with the brief ?announcement that " time was up."
There wa»,«, small lime on a pine stand in-the
t^pll. ¿Hsilca tore out a fly, leaf,«nd hastily detached
s tiny gold r eil from her watch cb ID. When she bad been, searched, ae was the custom, before enter- ing the prisoner's presence, this May ornament had escaped »ttention. It served him, well now, as he Borawled B1 HW words upon the ."silken fly leaf of toe sacred book, and laid it in Essica Carroll's hand. ;
" Rudd it," he whispered, hoarsely, " and deliver it ff her if you see fit,"
^ She glanced it over ; only these hard, cruel words.
" ALICIA --Go horn» to your f athir. Htneeforth yoar path
mina 11« in oppoiite direction«. O.K."
Bsslca's face flushed with unholy triumph,
"I will deliver it," she said^ softly ; and new good by. G uy, believe me, you shall soon be free ; I a wear it. I'know not why, but I am "Confident of saving
He caught her hands once more and kiessd thsm madly ; then with a whispered farewell, she passed through the door of the cell, and the twilight shad-
ows hid her.
But she did not rotum to her own dwelling. By a strange intuition-Heaven alone knowe by what power it was instigated-she went down to the little lake under the olive tree». The last place ia tbe <qrorld to be «ought by an ordinary woman under the terrible circumstances, but Essica Valdez was not an ordinary woman.
She wandered slowly to the very edge of the water, and sat down upon a mossy log. Her eyes were Shining with repressed excitement, her breath carne end .went quickly, nnd the two bandi loosely clasped
together wera cold as ice.
"Guy, my darling-my darling !" ah* cried aloud, in sudden ecstasy, " tor your love I would forego
«ven vengeance itself."
As the wild words paused her lips, she glanced lip, prompted by the same instinct which tells ut of the presence of ibe pretty, painted snake lying un> fluspscted in the tall grass at our feet, its basilisk «yes upon us, as it prepares for a deadly spring. So, moved by a similar fascination, Esaica'e eyes were lifted and fixed upon the thicket of shrubs which grew not far from where she sat;
It was getting late. The gray shadows of twilight crept and crawled over the smiling face of the green earth : the birds were singing their good-night songs in'tbe tree tops ; one crystal star shone brightly over the lake, and was mirrored in its silvery bosom.
A quivering shudder passed over the woman's Blender form : she sprang to her feet with n wild cry of horror and despair dying upon her pale lipB, with both hntjds thrown up wildly as though to «yard off a descending blow, and her herrified eyes gazing straight before her, with unutterable anguish end suffering in their lustrous depths.
A man had emerged from the shrubbery, and was standing before her-a man with steely blue eyes and n hard, cold, cruel emile wreathed bis thin lips.
"Alton 1" she faltered, with a moan of despair. He drew nearer, his eyes transfixed hers.
*' Alton 1" she repeated, wildly," come back from the grave to haunt me,"
He laughed aloud-harshly, diioerdantly.
"Not exactly my dear." He cried, mockingly, "You see, I didn't happen to be dead, that's all. Only a little mistake of youri, and the world at large, bom of a plot of my own. Do you want to know how I managed it P Well, I thought to get my own private vengeance on your "darling Guy," and bis voice rBng out in sneering derision-«' so I «st to-work-to'And B corpse somewhBt resembling »yself iu'generol'appearance. Lucky for me-I al- ways was a lucky dog I-I came across just the ' sub- ject' I wanted. A man bad been killed a mile out aide the villiage -a man quite like me in personal appearance; the murderer waa only too glad to hush the matter up'and dispose of the troublesome body, and it was as easy as'falling in love for me t» dress
it in m^clothee,and palmfit off upon» too credu
IOUB public as my own corpse. That was three months'»go, my dear madam, and while I have been In Boden Baden and half a dozen other retreats,- in disguUe, ol course, your 'darling Guy' has pined BWay within the1 seclusion of a prison, He, has dis-, Covered what the inside of the etone jug is like ; and J intend to get him killed to pay off for ;that,duced pommeling he treated me to, or, should be escape With a-whole-neck, be shall become an outlaw on the lace -pf, ¿the earth' from henoeforth and forever.
Amen. * v
« Listen to me Eusica Carroll. It's my turn now. Jo the world-all the worid7at large-I am a dead »an i Ço-you alone ^intend, to appear ,in vropn^ persona. I am going to keep my eyes upon you, my JUttlo. wife, tor, between you and me, you'll bear
Watching. Yon will never quite escape my vigil- ance, io don't try. We played our little game of vengeance ; but now, as I see you are trying a lone hand, we'll play quits, and make a division« Go your way, Essie» Curran, and I will go mine, only do not forget that I have a legal claim upon you- you are my wife, you know, In spite of fate and-*
He never inished. Pallid end trembllap, a very demon in her mad rage and blind passion, Essica had sprung forward into his path, one hand uplifted, and with all the strength of which she was capable, .track him a sudden blow upan the face He wai standing upon the very brink of the lake, his back towards it ; tbe unexpected blow deprived him of his balance ; he tottered baokward, and ere he could re gain hil footing he fell-fell with a low groan of agony into the like, and the bright dancing water
closed over him.
-The evening .breeza sighed, eerily, jïûiling.thrûugh the branches of the olive tree like a human thing in pain ; the birds were silent now, and the dark clouds which foretold a1 gathering storm scudded across the face ol the sky and swallowed up the one star whick had'iíTone down like a mute witness to the dreadful deed. A terrible silence settled over »11 thipgs,- _
Essica Carroll stood transfixed wifb, horror at thought of what she had dene, her.,gieat dark «yes, full of smoldering fire,T>ent upon toe spot wa «re, he bad gone down. 8he shivered violently, and turned slowly away.
" I have committed murder," she whispered, in a strange, awe-stricken tone ; a fearful step in crime has been tiken to night, and I shall go dow«-down to everlasting perdition 1 Ob, Heaven I"-and she threw her arms up wildly and turned her white face toward the darkening sky-" I am a lost, fonwksD creature! Lost I lost I lostl"