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A Heart-Song of To-day By Annie Gregg Savigny Characters: 4557

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02

Delrose flew rather than walked to Rose Cottage muttering curses on Kate and Trevalyon as he ran. "D-- him, he has always had the best of it whenever he and I have crossed lances. Kate has loved him best all along, and did he hold up his finger she'd not go with me to-night. But by the stars she shall! I have got the upper hand of her at last by the help of the coming-. We are a daring, reckless race. Yes, she is mine at last, I can make her come, but curse that fellow, she cares most for him, but she and her gold shall be mine, and I love her as the panther its mate, as the lioness her whelps, for is she not of my blood? though I have not told her what I have known for years that the Capt. Vivian, forsooth, her father, is my first cousin. Vivian Delrose, in our family surnamed the reckless. What is she saying to him now? Heavens how hot my brain is! Gad, how far to the cottage! Even though it be to an expose, I wish I was back. I must not lose sight of her, the two hours before we are off may do me mischief-he may fall in love. She is looking splendid; all fire, gown and all! ha, ha! but," and he hissed the words between his teeth, "let him stand in my way and she woos a corpse. And now to throw as many stones in his path as Satan shows me how," and springing, rather than walking into Rose Cottage he surprised Simon in the act of discussing a bottle of Burgundy with himself. An empty decanter with the remains of some ham sandwiches were on the table. Ellen, the cook, with flushed face lay on the sofa in a deep sleep. Conspicuous on the table embroidered by the aesthetic fingers of Miranda Marchmont, were groups of potato bugs and a vial, on which in the handwriting of Delrose was the word "Chloral."

"What the devil do you mean, Simon," shouted his master, "what fool's game are you after! Nice way you're attending to my orders. What are you playing with this chloral for?"

"Well, you see, sir, cook's been spoons on me ever since you and I put up here. She was so dead gone on me when she know'd we was to go to-night-"

"You scoundrel! didn't I tell you you were to keep dark as to our leaving?"

"Please, sir, I only told her to see how she'd stare, and then I drugged her so she can't blab, out of that bottle I've seen you use, sir

(with a cunning leer), more nor once. She wants to come with us, sir, she's so gone on me, sir."

"And you are gone on that bottle, or you wouldn't gabber like a fool; it's my belief you were born in a wine cask and nursed on a bottle; here, drop that glass," and snatching it from his servant's hands, he threw the contents out of the open casement; "what's that! moving away from under the window; look here, you fool, something white! only I know everyone is at the Hall, I'd say it was a girl or woman."

"No, sir; it's only the white goat as Miss Marchmont pets; she's startled me afore now, sir."

"Very well, listen; I have work for you to do, hark you, for I shall not tell it twice: Sir Lionel Trevalyon has arrived at the Hall; you know my feelings towards him."

"You don't exactly doat on him, sir."

"No; well, mark me, he has brought some people with him to swear falsely, and to clear him of all part in running off with Col. Clarmont's wife (some twelve years ago); he wants to father her on to me; as his game is to marry the new beauty, Miss Vernon; but, my man, if you will stick to it that he was the man (that all the regiment had it so), not I, your wages are doubled next quarter. And now, look you, the work I have for you since you know so well how to use this bottle, is, to get with all speed to the Hall; they will be having refreshments; you add a good sound sleep, on the plea of getting a cup of strong coffee which will steady you; force your way into whatever room they are; I wish you had not been such an ass as to take to the bottle to-night; your game is to say nothing of Paris, or of the part I played with that little fool of a Clarmont. And now away."

"Yes, sir; and I'll not fail you; it's work I like; and if I can do his cup, there will be no harm, I suppose, sir?"

"None; and you'll not regret it; only don't make a blundering idiot of yourself with all that Burgundy inside of you; put the chloral in your pocket carefully. And now for the Hall at once, and with me."

With rapid strides (Simon rather unsteady in his gait, but a wholesome dread of his master sobering him at every step) they are soon within range of the illuminated windows, and now separate to make their entree at doors for big and little flies.

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