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   Chapter 38 MADAME IN A FELINE MOOD.

A Heart-Song of To-day By Annie Gregg Savigny Characters: 4739

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


A window in the library looked out upon the avenue, and a carriage approaching could be distinctly seen. Vaura, in the long ago, had frequently sat in this window, to watch the return of her uncle; aye, and of the man whom she now loved better than life itself. She was sure she could distinguish a conveyance from the village, and the occupants devoid of the gay trappings of revelry, from the guests in their comfortable carriages. Accordingly, as Madame had changed (for to-night), the dinner hour to half-past nine, at nine o'clock, Vaura, a soft beam of loveliness, with light foot-fall, entered the library and took her station at the watch-tower above mentioned. She was scarcely seated ere she was aware she was not the only occupant of what she had felt sure would be a deserted room; she would have risen, but her heart was there, and the words she heard chained her to the spot; the voices were those of Mrs. Haughton and of Major Delrose.

"I will have my way, Kate!"

"You will, I know; but can't you wait?"

"What for? For you to have Trevalyon fooling round you. Gad, if he comes near you, I'll shoot him."

"I am sorry I told you Melty followed them and heard."

"I'm not, for there's a devilish mystery about his coming; I wish she'd heard more."

"But she didn't, dear George; and that he comes at all does not look well for our plot, eh? She may yet get him, not I; and so you will remember, sweet Georgie; if so you don't win the game."

"Kate, you madden me."

"You do seem a little that way; there, go away, you are crushing my flowers. Heaven knows you ought to be satisfied, I have given you enough."

"I shall have you all to myself."

This he said with such fierce emphasis as to cause Vaura to tremble; not so Madame, for she loved this man for his boldness only (a tamer nature would have palled upon her long ere this), but the feline nature in her triumphed at times, and she tortured him.

"But, dear boy," she continued, "you have not carried out your bargain, and so no reward."

"I know I promised to separate them, and so I have, and shall; you don't see all my hand, my queen, there'll be the devil to pay when I do. I got a letter from New York this summer I shall yet turn to our advantage, even if I do stretch a point."

"Why did you not show this letter you speak of to me? Take your head away, you don'

t care a fig that my flowers will wear a dissipated recumbence; remember the dinner and ball."

"Hang the flowers, the dinner and everything; I want you."

"But suppose I like queening it among the English nobility a trifle longer. You see Trevalyon is-"

"You rouse the devil in me, Kate; look you, I won't and can't stand this any longer; name that man again to me in that fooling way and by the stars I'll shoot him. You belong to me as much as our-. But you know you do. Heaven is my witness, Kate, if you don't end this humbug I will, and in my own way."

"I sometimes think it would have been better had we never met; you are so fierce and jealous."

"No you don't, for our love is the same, our natures the same. The burning lava of my love suits you better than the, ah, dear me, gentlemanly affection of the Colonel, or than Lincoln Tompkins' innocent pride in you."

"How about the other men?" she said, teasingly.

"Leave them to me, I'll handle them should they cross my path. You shall come with me to-night, my plans are laid; you will never regret it. You would soon tire of the child's play here, no excitement; after the ball I away from Rose Cottage. Our life at New York and elsewhere will be one long draught of champagne. You must come with me to-night, or look you-" and he hissed the words between his teeth, "I'll make you."

"My flowers again,-and the dinner bell; I'll tell you yea-perhaps, by-and-by."

Vaura, with her hand on her heart to still its violent throbbing, lingered until sure of their retreat. She now emerged from the recess in which she had been completely hidden. The others having entered from the end door had seated themselves in the first recess, there being only the double row of book shelves between them. The whole length of the room was in this way, shelves jutting out from either side, and a dim, very dim light pervading.

"Oh, what shall I do? How can I appear with their voices in my ears, their words stamped upon my memory," she murmured, "and yet I must, for my poor darling comes after. I must try to forget their words or my brain will be too full. What a scandal for our house. But to the conventionalities," and with rapid steps she reached her apartments. "Quick, Saunders, a wine glass of Cognac, I am not well. There, that will do; how do I look?"

"Like a picture, Mademoiselle."

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