|Chapter Title||THE PROMISE.|
|Newspaper Title||The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)|
|Trove Title||A Terrible Wrong|
A TERRIBLE WRONG.
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis. AutJior of 'The Douhk Life' « XW(?
CHAPTER XLIV. TnE PROMISE. . The pair alighted near thoir dis» tination and discharged their cab. Thon they approaohod tho souaro with slow and hesitating steps, nnlf foarf a\ of being recognized, yot drawn on by a fasoination which Dolores could not resist. She pulled hor little vouhH hat woll over her iorohoad, and muffled hor chin in the folds of her silk necker chief.' Elspoth's big, oldfaBhionod bonnot, and long watorproof cloak, and heavy gait, marked the respect able servaut. They were not likely to attract attention, they thought, and felt as sooure as if disguised in mask and domino. They walked slowly past St. Maur House once, and, to their disappoint ment, saw that tho ourtains were drawn, and that their oat?or eyes could not penetrate' into the brilliantly lighted interior. As they came back thoy paused before tho mansion, and ?Dolores's oyos roved with eager scrutiny over all tho windows. 'It's all lighted up,' said old Els peth ; ' that we can s,ee through tho ohinks and orevicea about tho curtains. I wonder, now, if ray lord gives a dinner to-night. It's a pity we can't boo in, seeing wo have como bo far ? » 'Hush!' whisperod Dolores, aB the tread of two men upon tho pave ment reaohod hor ears. ' Someone is ooining1. Lot us move on.' Sho clung to Elspoth'a arra, and thoy walked on slowly. They had not *aken many stops when thoy mot tho pedestrians whom Dolores had hoard. A swift glance from beneath tho littlo round hat de tected tho identity of both, Thoy woro Lord St. Maur and Sir Basil Nueont, Tho old lord and tho young baronet woro doop in conversation, and paid no hood to tho two women, who hush ed thoir broathing m thoy passed. But somothing in tho girl's shrinking attitude, or hor quick, frightened movements, caught tho attention of tho younger man, and as ho roaohed tho stops of St. Maur House ho paus ed and gazed af tor hor aa sho vanish ed amid tho shadows. ' What is it, Nngont P' asked the old earl, halting also, with ono foot upon tho stop. ' Somothing in that young lady's appearanoo reminded mo of Miss Wynn,' answered Nugont, with a Bigh. Doloros and Elspoth were return Ing with hesitating steps. s They had not spoken a word since the encounter, bnc now, as tho house door clangod to, sho clutched tho arm of her old servant and whispered, huskily— ' You rocogimod thorn, Elspeth P You know thorn both P' ' Yes, Miss Dolly. Who could fail to recognise tlio big, auld laird P' re turned tho serving woman. ' And who could fail to know tho bonnyt young gentloman, having seen him' onco r I used to soo him at St. Maur House, and think what a bonny pair you'd make, you and ho, Miss Dolly ' Hush, Elspeth. Don't say suoh words, And here wo aro back at tho house again. Ono last look, and wo must loo off. Ono last look, Elspoth I' Thoy pausod again in tho shadow. Lord St. Maur had conducted his young guest into tho morning room, and takon a turn or two up and down its length, whilo Sir Basil, anxious and restless, warned by somo indofin ablo instinct, prosontly aauntorod to tho window, raised tho silken curtains high with ono hand, nnd gazodout into tho street. His movomont was oxaotly coinoid ent with the reappearance of Doloros and hor old sorvant. And as ho lifted tho curtains a fltroam of light from tho room fell full upon tho polo, uulif tod face, in all tho splendour of its young beauty, with tho dark oyo8 of stroaming light, the softness, swootnoss, and tondorness of its perf eot features. A wild cry escaped his lipa. Loi'd St. Maur had como up behind him, had seen also that exquisite face and echoed that cry. Tho ourtains foil from Sir Basil's grasp. Ho bounded into tho hall, flung open tho outer door, and dashed into tho fltroot. But if ho had recognized Doloros, bug had also recogniBod him. Sho had stood transfixed undor his ticru* tiny, but as ho disappeared from tho window she seized her old servant's hand and epod away liko a frightened deer. Sho turned tho noarost corner, Els peth panting and lumbering beside W, and neither paused until thotf woro safe in Knightsbridge-road, Here thoy found a cab, without being obliged to wait, and woro speedily on thoir way homoward. Sir Basil, upon roaohing tho street, had found no trace of thorn. Ho had run toward Grosvenor-place in search of them, thus giving them timo to os cape, and completely missing them. After somo minutes' vain quost he had roalized thoir escapo, and returned to St. Maur House. ' It was Miss Wynn,' ho exclaim ed, re-entering tho morning room. *' I lost hor completely, my lord.' Tno oarl had sat down by tho win dow. Ho turned his ruggod old f aoo toward his guest, and ovory stern hard old feature was radiant with joy and tenderness. ' You soo sho loved mo, Nugont !' ho oxolaimod, ' olso sho would novor caro to revisit this place socrotly, in tho hopo of seeing mo.' Moanwhilo Dolores and Elspoth pursued thoir journoy homoward. Thoy alighted at tho ond of Rolling ham-row, and prosontly gave thorn solves admittanco into tho yard of Primroso Villa. Upon ontering tho dwelling thoy woro mot by tho Ivouho niaid, who said that Mr. Molcombo ?hod cftllod, and that ho had declined
to wait, upon being informed of Miss Wynn'si absence, but that ho would call again during the evening. Dolores ascended to hor rooms. Sho had soarcely removed her hat and settled herself comfortably in hor easy chair, when a doublo knook, peremptory, not unliko a postman's, testified to Melcombo's roturn. Ho was shown upstairs, Doloros roso to rcoeivo him. As Moloombo shook hands with her,' ho noticod tho new expression of sadness and rosolu. tion upon her young faco, and his heart thrilled ,with prospective triumph, t Elspeth busiod horsolf in the ad joining chamber. Doloros asked her visitor to bo seated, and ho drow,,a chair quite near hor own. ' I desire, first of all,' ho said, in his smooth, fluent touofl;;'' to ask your pardon for ray brusquonbss last even* ing, Doloros. I was betrayed bv my passion for you into throats, which I havo over since rogrettod.' * , ' Then you did not mean thomP' askod tho girl, quickly, ' Melcombo looked somowhat dis comfited, ' I did not mean to bo rude,' ho declared, ' I might havo olothod my meaning in milder terms,' I lovo you, Dolores, with all my soul, and I would die to gain ynur lovo in' return. I am come to-night for your answer to my suit. Think of all that that answer covers—tho honour of a noble, name, tho happiness of threo innocent persons, tho safoty, prehaps tho life, of one—and thon give rao your answer!' ' I havo thought until my brain reeled,' 'answored Doloros. '! If I consent to marry you, Mr. Moloombe, it will not bo for your sako or mine, but for tho sako of tho throe you have montionod, I will be frank with you, I do lovo soraeono else.' ' I know all that.' ' I did liko you, but since last even ing that liking has turned to loathing,' said Dolores, with a frankness that made him winoo, ' You havo shown yourdelf baso and ignoblo in pressing your advantage, in lovying blackmail upon an innocont, dooply wronged lady. You oxaot hor daughtor as tho prico of her safoty. But, sinco I am what I am, why do you eook to marry moP' ' ' ' ' Solely because I lovo you !' Tho ardent glances of his small, pale eyes, tho forvont oxprossion of liis vampivo face, attestod to tho truth of his profossionu of lovo. Doloi'os shrank yot farther from him. ' Give me yonr promise to marry me, Doloros,' he oxolaimod, ' and thoso you lovo aro safo ! Rofuso, and they perish ! If you many mo, you can bo muoh with your mothor ? ' ' I havo told you how I regard you, I have told you that I lovo another. If you aro utterly pitiloss, Mr. Mol combo, thon tako mo afj tho prico of my mother's safety. I will marry you.' Molcombo had won ! In a tarn sport of dolight, ho seized hor hand and carriod it to his lips. Sho drew it away hastily and Wiped it against hor dross, as if his touoh had con. taminatod it. ' Wo will disponso with carossos,' sho said, coldly. ' And I wish you would loavo mo now. I havo boon taking farewell of all my hopes to night, and I cannot boar your prosonoo longer.' Melcombo roso up. Ho could afford to consider hor oaprices now that ho had so noarly won his gamo. 41 Ono word more; Doloros,' ho said, ' I will not consent to a long ongago ment. You havo consented to our marriago, and tho sooner ifrtak.es place tho better. Will noxt week suit you P' ' No, no, not so soon,' ' I will not wait longor, Wo will bo married noxt woefc, Dolores— a weok from to-morrow. You will have ample timo to prepar your trousseau. If not, you can prepare it afterwards. Only wo must bo marriod noxt wook, on Thursday. ' So soon ! Noxt wook I Oh, heaven pity mo !' oriod Doloros. ' If you intend to many mo at all, tho soonor tho botter, I shall como to soo you ovory day, Doloros. Bost resign yourself to tho inevitable Noxt woek you will bolong to mo, and I shall bo oxaot all your thoughts, my pretty ono !' Ho did not prolong hia stay, but do parted with a emilo on hin sinistor face. As ho omorgod into tho atroot ho muttered, triumphantly— ' My fortuno is noarly mado ! Sho has consented to many mo, Sho shall bo my wifo boforo hIio fairly realizes tho situatiou. I havo playocl my gamo woll, and am coming out victor. Poor Nugont !' and ho snoorod. ' I wonder what ho'll way when ho dia covors tho truth, and that his Doloros is my wife P' (To bo continued)