Mrs. Falchion, Volume 2.

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Language: English
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For a minute Mrs. Falchion stood looking at the door through which the girl had passed, then she caught close the curtains of the window, and threw herself upon the sofa with a sobbing laugh.

"To her—I played the game of mercy to her!" she cried. "And she has his love, the love which I rejected once, and which I want now—to my shame! A hateful and terrible love. I, who ought to say to him, as I so long determined: 'You shall be destroyed. You killed my sister, poor Alo; if not with a knife yourself you killed her heart, and that is just the same.' I never knew until now what a heart is when killed."

She caught her breast as though it hurt her, and, after a moment, continued: "Do hearts always ache so when they love? I was the wife of a good man oh! he WAS a good man, who sinned for me. I see it now!—and I let him die—die alone!" She shuddered. "Oh, now I see, and I know what love such as his can be! I am punished—punished! for my love is impossible, horrible."

There was a long silence, in which she sat looking at the floor, her face all grey with pain. At last the door of the room softly opened, and Justine entered.

"May I come in, madame?" she said.

"Yes, come, Justine." The voice was subdued, and there was in it what drew the girl swiftly to the side of Mrs. Falchion. She spoke no word, but gently undid the other's hair, and smoothed and brushed it softly.

At last Mrs. Falchion said: "Justine, on Monday we will leave here."

The girl was surprised, but she replied without comment: "Yes, madame; where do we go?"

There was a pause; then: "I do not know. I want to go where I shall get rested. A village in Italy or—" she paused.

"Or France, madame?" Justine was eager.

Mrs. Falchion made a gesture of helplessness. "Yes, France will do. . . . The way around the world is long, and I am tired." Minutes passed, and then she slowly said: "Justine, we will go to-morrow night."

"Yes, madame, to-morrow night—and not next Monday."

There was a strange only half-veiled melancholy in Mrs. Falchion's next words: "Do you think, Justine, that I could be happy anywhere?"

"I think anywhere but here, madame."

Mrs. Falchion rose to a sitting posture, and looked at the girl fixedly, almost fiercely. A crisis was at hand. The pity, gentleness, and honest solicitude of Justine's face conquered her, and her look changed to one of understanding and longing for companionship: sorrow swiftly welded their friendship.

Before Mrs. Falchion slept that night, she said again: "We will leave here to-morrow, Justine, for ever."

And Justine replied: "Yes, madame, for ever."

CHAPTER XIX

THE SENTENCE

The next morning Roscoe was quiet and calm, but he looked ten years older than when I had first seen him. After breakfast he said to me: "I have to go to the valley to pay Phil Boldrick's friend the money, and to see Mr. Devlin. I shall be back, perhaps, by lunchtime. Will you go with me, or stay here?"

"I shall try to get some fishing this morning, I fancy," I said. "And possibly I shall idle a good deal, for my time with you here is shortening, and I want to have a great store of laziness behind me for memory, when I've got my nose to the grindstone."

He turned to the door, and said: "Marmion, I wish you weren't going....