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My Friend the Chauffeur By A. M. Williamson Characters: 30884

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03

We all felt when we had said good-bye to Venice that we had a definite object in view, and there was to be no more pleasant dawdling. It was ho for Schloss Hrvoya! Aunt Kathryn had suddenly discovered that she was impatient to see the ancient root from which blossomed her cherished title, and nothing must delay her by the way.

I should have wondered at her change of mood, and at the Prince's new enthusiasm for the Dalmatian trip-which, until our arrival in Venice, he'd tried to discourage-but Beechy explained frankly as usual. It seemed that Count Corramini (said by Prince Dalmar-Kalm to possess vast funds of legal knowledge) had intimated that the Countess Dalmar-Kalm was not rightfully a Countess until every penny was paid for the estate carrying the title. That same day, without waiting to be asked, she had given the Prince a cheque for the remaining half of the money. Now if she finds scarce one stone left upon another at Schloss Hrvoya, she can't cry off her bargain, so it's easy to understand why the Prince is no longer anxious. Exactly why he should seem so eager to get us to our destination is more of a puzzle; but perhaps, as Beechy thinks, it's because he hopes to influence Aunt Kathryn to rebuild. And certainly he has influenced her in some way, for she could hardly wait to leave Venice at the last.

We went as we had come, by water, for we wouldn't condescend to the railway; and at the landing-place for Mestre our grey automobile stood waiting for us, so well-cared for and polished that it might just have come from the makers, instead of having charged at full tilt "up the airy mountains and down the rushy glens" of half Europe.

It was goddess-like to be in the car again, yet I regretted Venice as I've regretted no other place I ever saw. Even when there, it seemed too beautiful to be real, but when we lost sight of its fair towers and domes, in bowling northward along a level road, I grew sadly convinced that Venice was a fairy dream.

We saw nothing to console us for what we had lost (though the scenery had a soft and melancholy charm) until we came to old fortified Treviso, with its park, and the green river Dante knew, circling its high walls.

At Conegliano-where Cima lived-we ran into the town between its guardian statues, gave a glance at the splendid old castle which must have given the gentle painter many an inspiration, and then turned eastward. There was a shorter way, but the route-book of the Italian Touring Club which the Chauffeulier pinned his faith to in emergencies, showed that the surface of the other road was not so good. Udine tried to copy Venice in miniature, and I loved it for its ambition; but what interested me the most was to hear from Mr. Barrymore how, on the spot where its castle stands, Attila watched the burning of Aquileia. That seemed to take me down to the roots of Venetian history; and I could picture the panic-stricken fugitives flying to the lagoons, and beginning to raise the wattled huts which have culminated in the queen city of the sea. From Udine we went southward; and at the Austrian custom house, across the frontier, we had to unroll yards of red tape before we were allowed to pass. Almost at once, when we were over the border, the scenery, the architecture, and even the people's faces, changed; not gradually, but with extraordinary abruptness, or so it seemed to me.

Just before dark we sailed into a great, busy town, with a surprising number of enormous, absolutely useless-looking buildings. It was Trieste, Austria's biggest port; and the Prince, who had kept near us for the hundred and thirty miles from Venice, began to wear an air of pride in his own country. He wanted us to admire the fine streets and shops, and made us notice how everywhere were to be seen Greek, Russian, Polish, French, German, Italian, and even English names. "That proves what a great trade we do, and how all the world comes to us," he said.

Our hotel was close to the quay, and there were a thousand things of interest to watch from the windows when we got up next morning, as there always are in places where the world "goes down to the sea in ships."

At breakfast there was a discussion as to our route, which, owing to suggestions and counter-suggestions from the Prince, hadn't been decided. The Chauffeulier wanted to run through Istria and show us Capodistria (another copy of Venice), Rovigno, and Pola, which he said had not only a splendid Roman amphitheatre, but many other sights worth making a détour for. I was fired by his description, for what I've seen of Northern Italy has stimulated my love for history and the architecture of the ancients; but Prince Dalmar-Kalm persuaded Aunt Kathryn that, as the neighbourhood of Cattaro is our goal, it would be a waste of time to linger on the threshold of Dalmatia.

"Why, a little while ago you thought it stupid to go into Dalmatia at all," said Beechy. "You warned us we'd have trouble about petrol, about roads, about hotels, about everything."

"I have been talking since with Corramini," replied the Prince unruffled. "He has motored through the country we are going to, and I see from his accounts, that the journey is more feasible than I had thought, knowing the way as I did, only from a yacht."

"Funny he should be more familiar with the country than you, as you've got a castle there," Beechy soliloquized aloud.

"I make no secret that I have never lived at Hrvoya," the Prince answered. "Neither I, nor my father before me. The house where I was born is at Abbazzia. That is why I want you to go that way. It is no longer mine; but I should like you to see it, since you cannot at present see Schloss Kalm, near Vienna."

"You seem so fond of selling your houses, why don't you offer Mamma the one near Vienna, if it's the best?" persisted naughty Beechy.

"I could not sell it if I would," smiled the Prince, who for some reason is almost always good-natured now. "And if I offer it to a lady, she must be the Princess Dalmar-Kalm."

I felt that a glance was thrown to me with these words, but I looked only at my plate.

The conversation ended by the Prince getting his way, as he had made Aunt Kathryn think it her way: and we gave up Istria. Soon after ten we were en route for Abbazzia-close to Fiume-slanting along the neck of the Istrian peninsula by a smooth and well-made road that showed the Austrians were good at highways.

It was but thirty miles from sea to sea, and so sweetly did the car run, so little were we troubled by cantankerous creatures of any sort, that we descended from high land and before twelve o'clock ran into as perfect a little watering place as can exist on earth.

Aunt Kathryn was prepared to like Abbazzia before she saw it, because it was the scene of Prince Dalmar-Kalm's birth, and also because she'd been told it was the favourite resort of Austrian aristocracy. I hadn't listened much, because I had clung to the idea of visiting historic Pola; but Abbazzia captured me at first glance.

Everywhere was beauty and peace. The Adriatic spread itself pure and clean as a field of spring flowers, and as full of delicate changing colour. Away on a remote horizon-remote as all trouble and worry seemed, in this fair spot-hovered islands, opaline and shimmering, like a mirage. Nearer rose a stretch of green hills, travelling by the seashore until they fell back for Fiume, a white town veiled with a light mist of smoke.

But for Abbazzia itself, it seemed the most unconventional pleasure place I ever knew. Instead of a smart "parade" all along the rocky indentations which jutted into or receded from the sea, ran a winding rustic path, tiny blue waves crinkling on one side; on the other, fragrant groves of laurel, olives, magnolias, and shady chestnut-trees.

We walked there, after lunching at quite a grand hotel, which, the Prince told Aunt Kathryn, was full of "crowned heads" in winter and earlier spring. Nowhere else have I seen the beauty of sea and shore so exquisitely mingled as on this path overhanging the Adriatic, nor have I smelled more heavenly smells, even at Bellagio. There was the salt of the sea, the rank flavour of seaweed, mingled with the sharp fragrance of ferns, of young grass, of budding trees, and all sweet, woodsy things.

Along the whole length of the gay, quaint town, ran the beautiful path, winding often like a twisted ribbon, but never leaving the sea. Behind it, above and beyond, was the unspoiled forest only broken enough for the cutting of shaded streets, and the building of charming houses, their fronts half windows and the other half balconies.

The dark rocks starred with flowers to the water's edge, looked as if there had been a snow-storm of gulls, while the air was full of their wistful cries, and the singing of merry land birds that tried to cheer them.

Each house by the sea (the one where Prince Dalmar-Kalm first saw the light, among others) had its own bathing place, and pretty young girls laughed and splashed in the clear water. Up above, in the town, were public gardens, many hotels, theatres, and fascinating shops displaying embroideries and jewelry from Bosnia, which made me feel the nearness of the East as I hadn't felt it before, even in Venice.

We could not tear ourselves away in the afternoon, but spent hours in a canopied boat, dined in the hotel garden, and bathed in the creamy sea by late moonlight, the Chauffeulier giving me a lesson in swimming. Aunt Kathryn grudged the time, but we overruled her, and atoned by promising to go on each day after this to the bitter end, whatever that might be.

Next morning, by way of many hills and much fine scenery we travelled towards a land beyond the motor zone. Though the roads were good enough, if steep sometimes, judging by the manners of animals four-legged and two-legged, automobiles were unknown. Only children were not surprised at us; but then, children aren't easily surprised by new things, I've noticed. They have had so few experiences to found impressions on, that I suppose they would think a fiery chariot nothing extraordinary, much less a motor-car. The costumes began to change from ordinary European dress to something with a hint of the barbaric in it. Here and there we would see a coarse-featured face as dark as that of a Mongolian, or would hear a few curious words which the Chauffeulier said were Slavic. The biting, alkaline names of the small Dalmatian towns through which we ran seemed to shrivel our tongues and dry up our systems. There was much thick, white dust, and, to the surprise of the amateurs of the party, we once or twice had "side slip" in it.

How we hated the "mended" roads with their beds of stone, though near rivers they were not so bad, as the pebbles instead of being sharp were naturally rounded. But Aunt Kathryn wouldn't hear a word against the country, which was her country now. Once, when the cylinders refused to work, for some reason best known to themselves or the evil spirits that haunt them, we were "hung up" for twenty minutes, and surrounded with strange, dark children from a neighbouring hamlet, Aunt Kathryn insisted on giving each a coin of some sort, and received grinning acknowledgments with the air of a crowned queen. "I daresay I shall have tenants and retainers like these people," said she, with a wave of her hand.

For a part of our journey down the narrow strip of strange coast, we had on one side a range of stony mountains; on the other, only a little way across the sea, lay desolate islands rising in tiers of pink rock out of the milk-white Adriatic. But before long we lost the sea and the lonely islands; for at a place named Segna our road turned inland and climbed a high mountain-the Velebit-at whose feet we had been travelling


As we were trying to make a run of more than a hundred and twenty-five miles-a good deal for a heavily-loaded car of twelve horse-power-the Chauffeulier kept the automobile constantly going "for all she was worth." He had planned that we should spend the night at the sea-coast town of Zara-that place so inextricably tangled up in Venetian history-for there we might find a hotel fit to stop at.

About midday we lunched at a mean town called Gospic, and vast was the upheaval that our advent caused.

As we drove in, looking right and left for the cleanest inn, every able-bodied person under seventy and several considerably over ran to follow, their figures swarming after us as a tail follows a comet. At the door of our chosen lunching-place they surged round the car, pressing against us, and even plucking at our dresses as we pushed through into the house. Spray from this human wave tossed into the passage and eating-room in our wake, until the burly innkeeper, his large wife, and two solid handmaidens swept it out by sheer weight.

Mr. Barrymore was afraid to leave the car, lest it should be damaged, so he sat in it, eating bread and cheese with imperturbable good humour, though every mouthful he took was watched down his throat by a hundred eager eyes.

The landlord waited upon us himself, and could speak German and Italian as well as his own Croatian or Slavish dialect. We were surprised at the goodness of the luncheon, and Sir Ralph was surprised at the cheapness of the bill. "It will be different when they've turned this coast into the Austrian Riviera, as they 're trying to do," he said.

When we appeared at the door again, ready to go on, there fell a heavy silence on the Chauffeulier's audience. Not only had they had the entertainment of watching him feed, but had observed with fearful awe the replenishing of the petrol and water-tanks and examination of the lubricators. Now they had the extra pleasure of seeing us put on our motor-masks and take our places. When all was ready Mr. Barrymore seized the starting handle, and gave it the one vigorous twist which wakes the engine when it is napping. But almost for the first time the motor was refractory. The handle recoiled so violently and unexpectedly that the Chauffeulier staggered back and trod on the toes of the fat man of the crowd, while at the same time there burst from the inner being of the car a loud report. At this sign of the motor's power and rebellion against him whom it should have obeyed, the audience uttered cries, scattering right and left, so as to leave a large ring round the automobile which before had not had room to breathe.

"Misfire, that's all," said Mr. Barrymore, laughing and showing his nice white teeth in a comforting way he has when anything alarming has happened. Next instant the motor was docile as a lamb; the engine began to purr; the Chauffeulier jumped to his seat, and, followed by a vast sigh from the crowd, we darted away at thirty miles an hour.

The rest of the day was a changing dream of strange impressions, which made Aunt Kathryn feel as if Denver were at least a million miles away. We climbed once more up to the heights of the Velebit, seeing from among the dark, giant pines which draped it in mourning, the great forests of Croatia, Lika, and Krabava, with their conical mountains, and far off the chains of Bosnia. Then, at a bound, we leaped into sight of the Adriatic again and sped down innumerable lacets overlooking the beautiful land-locked sea of Novigrad, to tumble at last upon the little town of Obrovazzo. Thence we fl

ew on, over an undulating road, towards Dalmatia's capital, Zara.

Just as anachronistic electric lights had shown us the way through curiously Italian streets, with beautifully ornamented windows, past a noble Corinthian column and out onto a broad space by the sea, without a warning sigh the automobile stopped.

"Our last drop of petrol!" exclaimed Mr. Barrymore. "Lucky it didn't give out before, as I began to be afraid it might, owing to the hills."

"By Jove! this doesn't look the sort of town to buy food and drink for motors!" remarked Sir Ralph ruefully.

The Chauffeulier laughed. "Ours won't starve," said he. "I thought you knew I'd ordered tins of petrol to meet us at every big town, for fear of trouble. It will come down by boat, and I shall find the Zara lot waiting for me at the Austrian Lloyd's storehouse. You'd have remembered that arrangement if your wits hadn't been wool-gathering a bit lately."

"I wonder if they have?" soliloquized Sir Ralph. "Well, here we are within three yards of a hotel which, if I've any brains left, is the very one you selected from Baedeker."

We all got out as if we had stopped on purpose, and the hotel which Fate and our Chauffeulier had chosen proved very fair, though too modern to be in the picture.

If the automobile had flashed us to Mars things could hardly have been more unfamiliar to our eyes than when we walked out next morning to find ourselves in the midst of a great fête.

Flags were everywhere: in arched windows, rich with sculptured stone; flying over the great gates of the city; festooned in the charming little houses with fountain courts surrounded by columns. The peasants of the country round had flocked to town for the holiday. Dark, velvet-eyed girls in short dresses of bright-coloured silk heavy with gold embroidery, their hair hidden by white head-dresses flashing with sequins, and tall men in long frock coats of dark crimson or yellow, were exactly like a stage crowd in some wonderful theatre; while handsome Austrian officers wearing graceful blue cloaks draped over one shoulder, might have been operatic heroes.

There was strange music in the streets, and a religious procession, which we followed for some time on our way to the maraschino factory which Mr. Barrymore said we must see. Of course, some monks had invented the liqueur, as they always do, but perhaps the cherries which grow only among those mountains, and can't be exported, had as much to do with the original success of the liqueur as the existence of the recipe.

If Aunt Kathryn had listened to Mr. Barrymore and me we would have gone from Zara inland to a place called Knin, to visit the cataract of Krka, described as a combination of Niagara and the Rhine Falls. But she said that the very sound of the names would make a cat want to sneeze, and she was sure she would take her death of cold there. So the proposal fell to the ground, and we kept to the coast route, the shortest way of getting to Ragusa and Cattaro.

When we had climbed out of Zara by the old post road, begun by Venice and finished by Austria, our way lay among the famous cherry-trees which have made Zara rich. There were miles of undulating country and fields of wheat, interspersed with vines and almond trees which mingled with the cherries. The pastures where sheep and goats grazed were blue and pink with violets and anemones; here and there was an old watch-tower, put up against the Turks; and the rich peasants drove in quaint flat chaises, which looked as if the occupants were sitting in large pancakes.

With a motor it was not far to Sebenico, which called itself modestly a "little Genoa;" and it was so pretty, lying by the sea, with its narrowest streets climbing up a hill to an ancient fortress, that I should have loved to linger, but Aunt Kathryn was for pushing on; and, of course, it is her trip, so her wishes must be obeyed when they can't be directed into other channels. We stopped only long enough for an omelette, and passed on after a mere glimpse of close-huddled houses (with three heads for every window, staring at the motor) and a cathedral with an exquisite doorway. Then we were out of the town, spinning on through the wild, unreal-looking country towards Spalato.

"What new ground for honeymooners!" exclaimed Sir Ralph, enchanted with everything, in his half-boyish, half-cynical way. "I shall recommend it in The Riviera Sun for a wedding trip en automobile. Shouldn't you like to do it, Miss Beechy-dawdling, not scorching?"

"I think when I get married," Beechy replied judicially, "I shan't want to go anywhere. I shall just stay somewhere for a change."

"It's early to decide," remarked Sir Ralph.

"I don't know. It's always well to be prepared," said Beechy, with the enigmatical look she sometimes puts on, which (in spite of her ankle-short dresses and knee-long tails of hair) makes her appear at least sixteen.

Beyond Sebenico the Dalmatian landscape frowned upon us, but we liked its savage mood. The road, winding inland, was walled with mountains which might have struck a chill to the heart of Childe Roland on his way to find the Dark Tower. On a rocky shoulder here and there crouched a sinister little hamlet, like a black cat huddling into the neck of a witch. Sometimes, among the stony pastures where discouraged goats browsed discontentedly, we would spy a human inhabitant of one of those savage haunts-a shepherd in a costume more strange than picturesque, with a plait of hair almost as long as Beechy's, hanging down his back-a sullen, Mongolian-faced being, who stared or scowled as we flew by, his ragged dog too startled by the rush of the motor even to bark, frozen into an attitude of angry amazement at his master's feet. One evidence only of modern civilization did we see-the railway from Sebenico to Spalato, the first we had come near in Dalmatia; and we congratulated ourselves that we were travelling by automobile instead. No tunnels to shut out some wonderful view, just as our eyes had focussed on it, no black smoke, no stuffy air, no need to think of time tables!

When at last we sighted the Adriatic again, a surprise awaited us. The land of desolation lay behind; beyond, a land of beauty and full summer. We ran beside an azure sea, transparent as gauze, fringing a tropical strand; and so came into the little town of Trau, which might have been under a spell of sleep since medi?val days. Its walls and gates, its ornate houses, its fort and Sanmicheli tower, all set like a mosaic of jewels in a ring of myrtles, oleanders, and laurels, delighted our eyes; and the farther we went on the way to Spalato, keeping always by the glittering sea, the more beautiful grew the scene. The walls along our road were well-nigh hidden with agaves and rosemary. Cacti leered impudently at us; palms and pomegranates made the breeze on our faces whisper of the south and the east. Not a place we passed that I would not have loved to spend a month in, studying in the carved stones of churches and ruined castles the history of Venetian rule, or the wild romance of Turkish raids.

Spalato we reached at sunset, as the little waves which creamed against the pink rocks were splashed with crimson; and Spalato was by far the most imposing place Dalmatia had shown us yet. As in Italy, the ancient and modern towns held themselves apart from one another, as if there could be no sympathy between the two, though the new houses were pushing and would have encroached now and then if they could. We stayed all night; and by getting up at sunrise Beechy and I, with Mr. Barrymore and Sir Ralph, had time for a glimpse of Diocletian's palace, grand in ruinous desolation.

Still we went on beside the sea, and from Spalato to Almissa-sheltered under high rocks at the mouth of a river, was a splendid run leading us by the territory of an ancient peasant republic-Poljica; one of those odd little self-governing communities, like San Marino, which have flourished through troubled centuries under the very noses of great powers. Poljica had had its Jeanne d'Arc, who performed wondrous feats of valour in wars against the Turks, and I bought a charming little statuette of her.

At Almissa we bade good-bye to the blue water for a while to run by the banks of the Cetina, a big and beautiful river; for the range of the Biokovo Hills had got between us and the sea; but we threaded our way out to it again, after switchbacking up and down an undulating road close to the frontier of Herzegovina; and at the end of a wonderful day descended upon a harbour in an almost land-locked basin of water. It was Gravosa, the port of Ragusa, still hidden by an intervening tongue of land. It was a gay scene by the quay, where native coasting ships were unloading their queer cargoes. Dark-faced porters in rags carried on their shoulders enormous burdens; men in loose knickerbockers, embroidered shirts, and funny little turbans lounged about, and stared at us as if they were every-day people and we extraordinary. And the setting for the lively picture was the deeply-indented bay, surrounded with quaintly pretty houses among vineyards and olive groves, which climbed terrace after terrace to a mountainous horse-shoe, hemming in the port.

All this we saw in the moment or two that we halted by the quay, before turning up the road to Ragusa. It was a mile-long road, and like a pleasure garden all the way, with the whiteness of wild lilies flung like snow drifts against dark cedars, and trails of marvellous roses, strangely tinted with all shades of red and yellow from the palest to the deepest, clambering among the branches of umbrella pines. There were villas, too, with pergolas, and two or three dignified old houses of curious architecture, of which we had a flashing glimpse through doorways in enormous walls.

We bounded up the saddle of a hill, then down again, and so came to a charming hotel, white, with green verandahs, set in a park that was half a garden. We were to spend the night and go on next day, after seeing the town; but the Chauffeulier said that we should not see it to the same advantage by morning light as in this poetic flush of sunset. So after greeting Signore Bari and his sister, who were painting in the park, we drove on, through a crowded place where music played, crossed a moat, and were swallowed by the long shadow of the city gate, black with a twisted draping of ancient ivy.

A throng of loungers, theatrically picturesque, fell back in astonishment to give us passage, and a moment later we were caught in a double row of fortifications with a sharp and difficult turn through a second gate. It was almost like a trap for a motor-car, but we got out, and sprang at the same instant into the main street of a town that might have been built to please the fancy of some artist-tyrant.

"It's a delicious mixture of Carcassonne and Verona set down by the sea, with something of Venice thrown in, isn't it?" said Mr. Barrymore: and I thought that part of the description fitted, though I had to be told about splendid, fortified Carcassonne with its towering walls and bastions, before I fully understood the simile.

"Yes, a Verona and Venice certainly," I answered, "with a sunny coast like that of the French Riviera, and inhabited by people of the Far East."

I think one might search the world over in vain to find just such another fascinating street as that broad street of Ragusa, with its exquisitely proportioned buildings that gave one a sense of gladness, the extraordinary great fountain, the miniature palace of the Doges, the noble churches and the colourful shops brilliant with strange, embroidered costumes exposed for sale, Eastern jewelry, and quaint, ferocious-looking weapons. And then, the queer signs over the shops, how they added to the bewildering effect of unreality! Many of the letters were more like hooks and eyes, buckles and bent pins, than respectable members of an alphabet, even a foreign one. And the people who sold, and the people who bought, were more wonderful than the shops themselves.

There were a few ordinary Europeans, though it was past the season now; and plenty of handsome young Austrian officers in striking uniforms, pale blue and bright green; but the crowd was an embroidered, sequined, crimson and silver, gold and azure crowd, with here and there a sheepskin coat, the brown habit of a monk, and the black veil of a nun.

Through half-open doorways we peeped into courtyards where fountains flashed a diamond spray, all pink with sunset, between arcaded columns. We saw the cathedral planted on the site of the chapel where Richard C?ur de Lion worshipped; then, wheeling at the end of the street, we returned as we had come while the rose-pink air was full of chiming church bells and cries of gulls, whose circling wings were stained with sunset colour.

Altogether this day had been one of the best days of my life. So good a day, that it had made me sad; for I thought as I leaned on the rail of my balcony after dinner, there could not be many days so radiant in my life to come. Many thoughts came to me there, in the scented darkness, and they were all tinged with a vague melancholy.

There was no moon, but the high dome of the sky was crusted with stars, that flashed like an intricate embroidery of diamonds on velvet. From the garden the scent of lilies came up with the warm breeze, so poignant-sweet that it struck at my heart, and made it beat, beat with a strange tremor in the beating that was like vague apprehension, and a kind of joy as strange and as inexplicable.

Far away in the place some one was singing a wild, barbaric air, with a wonderful voice that had in its timbre the same quality the lilies had in their fragrance. For some reason that I didn't understand, my whole spirit was in a turmoil, yet nothing had happened. What was the matter? What did it mean? I couldn't tell. But I wanted to be happy. I wanted something from life that it had never given, never would give, perhaps. There was a voice down below in the garden-Mr. Barrymore talking to Sir Ralph. I listened for an instant, every nerve tingling as if it were a telegraph wire over which a question had been sent, and an answer was coming. The voice died away. Suddenly my eyes were full of tears; and surprised and frightened, I turned quickly to go in through my open window, but something caught my dress and drew me back.

"Maida!" said another voice, which I knew almost as well as that other I had heard-and lost.

Prince Dalmar-Kalm had come out of a window onto a balcony next mine, and leaning over the railing had snatched at a fold of my gown.

"Let me go, please," I said. "And that name is not for you."

"Don't say that," he whispered, holding me fast, so that I could not move. "It must be for me. You must be for me. You shall. I can't live without you."

His words jarred so upon my mood that I could have struck him.

"If you don't let me go, I'll cry out," I said, in a tone as low as his, but quivering with anger. "I would be nothing to you if you were the last man in the world."

"Very well. I will be the last man in your world. Then-we shall see," he answered; and dropped my dress.

In another instant, I was in my room and had fastened the shutters. But the words rang in my ears, like a bell that has tolled too loud.

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