Chapter 76485714

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Chapter NumberXLVI
Chapter TitleTHE CRISIS
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Full Date1894-02-10
Page Number4
Word Count1682
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)
Trove TitleA Terrible Wrong
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By Mus.Haeriet Lewis. Author of (tTht Doubk Life' « MA DarkwoQcpQ Crime' #o.

CHAPTER XLVI. THE CRISIS. Tnn day that lmd proved so ovontful to Lord St, Maur, in olenring up the mystery of years, and thrilled him with the joyful discovery of the oxistenoe and identity of his grand, child, was not without event to others. The MaroluonesB of Gloninorris was in her morning room. She was rich ly attirod, but looked pale and troubl ed. Eer baby son haa been spending tho last hour or two with hor, but ho had juBt been carried away slaeping to tho nursery, She had not seen tho marquis since her oxoiting interview of the preced ing afternoon, and believed him absent from tho house. It seemed to her that her unhappiness had reached a climax — that she could bear no moro. 'Better to bo cast out from my husband'slioino than to dwell in this gilded misery,' she said to herself. ' I could boar tho worst, if worst should como, but rny exposure would entail disgrace and sorrow upon those dearor to mo than lifo. ¥ov their Bakes, I hopo .still. Oh, if Molcombe would bo moroiful !' As if her thoughts had power to conjure up tho shapes they dwelt upon, Clifford Melcombe was announced. Ho camo in smiling, his vumpiro faco Booming even in hor ti'oubled oyos flushod with a sinistor triumph. Ho was elegant in dross and seeming, smooth and polish od in manner, but isomohow ho romindod hor straugly of a deadly, glittoring solvent. ' Did you expect mo, Quoonio P' ho asked, familiarly, ' I havo good news for you. .Dolores has consented to marry mo.' Tho marchioness's countenance flushod, and thon palod. ' She has consented P' ' Ycb. You look amazod, and not at all pleased. She gave rao her pro mise last night, and wo are to be/mar ried next week.' 1 'So Boon.' Lady Glonmorris did not display the joy and relief ho expected, Some thing in his manner or looks opened hor oyos to tho ovil that was ir his nature She was frightened for hor child, and her gravo, anxious eyes searched his countonanoo in a gaze from which ho shrank, 11 So soon !' ho oohood, lightly. ' I thought it my duty to loll my future mamma in law at once, although Doloros will probably inform you for horrolf, So you two can busy your selves with a trousseau, as you liko. T - believe a now and extensive outfit of clothing is indisponsablo to a brido !' ' My poor child ! She consents to tho saorifico to savo mo. Oh, this is terriblo !' 'I fail to comprohond you, Quoonie. Dolores has consonted to marry me, thoroforo I prosumo that I am not dio tastoful to hor. At any rate, you should rojoico that sho has purchased your safety so cheaply. As my wife, Iier sockets will bo guarded aacrodly by me. Your past will bo buried, Queonio, and you and sho can enjoy a companionship and constant intei' courso V- at will bo dolightul to you both. Tho girl loves you with a passionate love. Odd, too, since she has known you for so brief a time,' Lady Glonmorris did not roply, but tho hopoloflsness of her attitude, tho despair in her boautiful faco, showod that Melcombe's words wore a blow to her, much as sho had hitherto Boerotly hoped for it, and necessary as his silonco in regard to her past seomod to her. Profound as was tho briof stillncHH, during which bIio sat liko one doath atricken, with Gilford Molcombo watching hor wi*h a gloating tigerish, expression, noithor hoard a tread in . the great hall nor tho sound of an en trance into tho library, which adjoin ed tho morning room. Noithor, wrap {-ed as both wore in groat emotion, leard tho dosr of communication open slightly, nor saw tho dark and noble faco of the Marquis of Glonmorris as he looked into the apartment. Ho had just rofurnod homo, after having \-eon absont all day. Ho had tried to forgot his griefs and perplex ities, but they had grown into a burden intolerable to hear. At last, half mad with his torturing anxieties, ho had returned homo, re solvod to make a final appeal to his wife's confidence. And if that failed ?—strange and desperate thoughts fillod his mind as ho contemplated suoh failuro, but he banished them and hurried homo, Entering his mansion, he passed on to tho library, where Lady Glon morris was wont to spend hours oi' every morning. Not finding hor there, as tho expected, and heaving tho sound of voicos in the morning room, ho was about to enter, when his eyes rested upon the face and flguro of Crifford Melcombo. Ho paused instinctively, and tho next instant his wifo's voico, low and broken, reached his ears, ' My poor little Dolores !' breathed the marchioness, with a quivering sigh that was almost a sob. ' My brave, noblo ^little horiono! Sho would die to save me, but this is worse than death !' A gleam of anger sparkled iuto Molcomb'es oyofi. ' You are complimentary to me !' ho exclaimed, One would think that you might find it politio to conciliate one who holds you as in- the hollow ?of his hand, who can hurl you at ono movement from your high position, who can havo you ejotted from this yory houso over whioh you reign as mistress.' Lord Glenmorris stood tranfised, ? leaning against tho door frame. Tho marchioness sat speechless, ' Ono would think, continued Melcombe,' that as I hold your fatal BGorotinmy keeping, you would find it desirable to make me your friend, to bind me to you with ? hooks of steel,1 Would you like to throw me over-rto defy me P Say tho word,

md I will carry my story to tho narqiiis of Glenmorris, I will toll iiiin that I know his wife years and [rears before he did, I will tell him — -.' ' Stop ! Stop ! Have you no ineroyP' u You goaded me to threatening, Quoonie. Xou pity your daughter be cause she is to be my wife, Am I so ropulsivo in appoaranoo that my wifo is to fee pitied r' Her daughter! Lord Glenmorris began to think that his sonsos wero playing him false. Her daugthter I Whose daughter P Not tho daughter of Miss Valeria Oalthorpe, whom ho had made his honoured wife ! He could not move ) he was not evon consoious of breathing, The only sense of which ho was conscious was that of hearing, His soul seem ed concentrated in his ears. ' It is not your personal appear ance that is repulsive,' cried Lady Glonmorris, with a sudden flro. ' It is your mind and soul, your false, treacherous, wiokod nature, Ah, I read you at last, Mr, Melcombo ! I have tried to believe in you, to trust, you but I have but played with my bettor judgment, Have you over aoted to wards mo liko a gentleman P Havo your actions been those of a man of lonour P I married Lord Glonmorris, leaving him in ignorance of ray past. It was a fatal mistako, but I thought no witnoss of that past could over arise against me. Ho brought mo to England after two happy years abroad, and no fear camo to mo that hero I should meet my doom, Then onmo that night at Lord St. Maur'a, You recognized mo thoro, in spite of tho ohango of yoara, of namo, or evon my outward appearance, It was as if fate had laid in wait for me, And from that night I havo lit od in torror. My terrible secret was inyour possess ion, and you havo usod it as a lovor to accomplish your own purpose. You havo humihatod, torrifiod, and crushed me, through my torror of ox^ posuro. You havo distroyod my hus band's trust in me, You havo alien ated him from mo, andhoavon knows that I lovod him better than my life I' ' Why not confoss all to him, thon P' asked Molcombo, with a sneer. Lady Glenmorrw threw up hor anas despairingly. ' Oh, if I only dared !' nho said, in a tono of agony that pierced to hor husband's heart, 'If I only dared. But ho is proud, Ho will hato mo for having married him— I with my past. Oh, heaven bo merciful to mo ! I oannot, I dare not, confoss. My Iiujj band would seek a divorce from me, Ho would tako my boy from mo. His name would booomo a mook and jeer ?—no, no. I must koep my sooret from him, but I wish that I wore doad.' Tho profoundness of hor despair might havo touched a heart of stono. ' There is a path of safety opon to you, Quoonio,' said Molcombo, aftor a raomont's pauso. ' I came to you this morning torecoivo your con gratulations, and to assure you that now you would have nothing to foar, yet you treat mo to reproaches and a passionato outburst that would do crodit to a tragedy actress. I toll you this marriage will mako you safo. Tho marquis will nevor suspect tho truth. You stand now at tho entrance of a groat social cftroor, You aro a beauty and a belle. Who would, droam that tho proud and beautiful Marchioness of Glonmorrio was tho Quoonio of other days-— the girlish mistress of tho villa in St. John's Wood P You are safe, Quoonio, You can bo happy in your husband, whom you love. You can win lam baok again easily onojigh, you who havo half England raving about you ! Wo shall bo -happy ; for, of oourso, I shall bo a good husband to Doloros, and you and sho will bo much togothor. Be hopeful, thon.' Lady Glonmorris shook hor hoad. (To bo continued)