Her brush was still in her hand, and as he drew near she dashed it full into his face. It was but a light thing, and only staggered him, but it gave her time to pass him, and reach the still open door. Bare-footed, she fled like the wind down the passages, and down the stairs. Uttering an oath, he followed her. But, as she went, she remembered that she could not run upon the gravel with her naked feet, and, with this in her mind, she turned to bay by a large window that gave light to the first-floor landing, immediately opposite which was the portrait of “Devil” Caresfoot. It was unbolted, and with a single movement of the hand she flung it open, and stood panting by it in the full light of the moon. In another moment he was upon her, furious at the blow, and his face contorted with passion.
“Stop,” she cried, “and listen to me. Before I will allow you to touch me with a single finger, I will spring from here. I would rather thrust myself into the hands of Providence than into yours, monster and perjured liar that you are!”
He stopped as she bade him, and commenced to pace round and round her in a semicircle, glaring at her with wild eyes.
“If you jump from there,” he said, “you will only break your limbs; it is not high enough to kill you. You are my wife, don’t you understand? You are my legal wife, the law is on my side. No one can help you, no one; you are mine in the sight of the whole world.”
“But not yours in the sight of God. It is to Him that I now appeal. Get back!”
She stretched out her arm, and with her golden hair glimmering in the moonlight, her white robes, and the anger on her face, looked like some avenging angel driving a fiend to hell. He shrank away from her, and there came a pause, and, save for their heavy breathing, stillness again fell upon the house, whilst the picture that hung above them seemed, in the half light, to follow them with its fierce eyes, as though it were a living thing.
The landing where they stood looked upon the hall below, at the end of which was Philip’s study. Suddenly its door burst open, and Philip himself passed through it, grasping a candlestick in one hand and some parchments in the other. His features were dreadful to see, resembling those of a dumb thing in torture; his eyes protruded, his livid lips moved, but no sound came from them. He staggered across the hall with terror staring from his face.
“Father, father,” called Angela; but he took no notice—he did not even seem to hear.
Presently they heard the candlestick thrown with a clash upon the hall pavement, then the front door slammed, and he was gone, and at that moment a great ruddy glow shot up the western sky, then a tongue of flame, then another and another.
“See,” said Angela, with a solemn laugh, “I did not appeal for help in vain.”
Isleworth Hall was in flames.