Vain Fortune eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Vain Fortune.

The maid tried to dissuade her; but Emily got out of bed, and allowed herself to be dressed.  She was very weak—­so weak that she could hardly stand up at the washstand; and the maid had to sponge her face and neck.  But when she had drunk a cup of tea and eaten a little piece of toast, she said she felt better, and was able to walk into the drawing-room.  She thought no more of death, nor of her troubles; thought drowned in her; and in a passive, torpid state she sat looking into the fire till dinner-time, hardly caring to bestow a casual caress on Dandy, who seemed conscious of his mistress’s neglect, for, in his sly, coaxing way, he sometimes came and rubbed himself against her feet.  She went into the dining-room, and the servant was glad to see that she finished her soup, and, though she hardly tasted it, she finished a wing of a chicken, and also the glass of wine which the man pressed upon her.  Half an hour after, when he brought out the tea, he found her sitting on her habitual chair nursing her dog, and staring into the fire so drearily that her look frightened him, and he hesitated before he gave her the letter which had just come up from the town; but it was marked ‘Immediate.’

When he left the room she opened it.  It was from Mrs. Bentley:—­

’Dearest Emily,—­I know that Hubert told you that he was not going to marry me.  He thought he was not, for I had refused to marry him; but a short time after we met in the park quite accidentally, and—­well, fate took the matter out of our hands, and we are to be married to-morrow.  Hubert insists on going to Italy, and I believe we shall remain there two months.  We have made arrangements for your aunt to live with you until we come back; and when we do come back, I hope all the little unpleasantnesses which have marred our friendship for this last month or two will be forgotten.  So far as I am concerned, nothing shall be left undone to make you happy.  Your will shall be law at Ashwood so long as I am there.  If you would like to join us in Italy, you have only to say the word.  We shall be delighted to have you.’

Emily could read no more.  ‘Join them in Italy!’ She dashed the letter into the fire, and an intense hatred of them both pierced her heart and brain.  It was the kiss of Judas.  Oh, those hateful, lying words!  To live here with her aunt until they came back, to wait here quietly until she returned in triumph with him—­him who had been all the world to her.  Oh no; that was not possible.  Death, death—­escape she must.  But how?  She had no more chloral.  Suddenly she thought of the lake.  ‘Yes, yes; the lake, the lake!’ And then a keen, swift, passionate longing for death, such as she had not felt at all the night before, came upon her.  There was the knowledge too that by killing herself she would revenge herself on those who had killed her.  She was just conscious that her suicide would have this effect, but hardly a trace of such intention

Project Gutenberg
Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook