Vain Fortune eBook

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

’Oh, she!  Well, you can marry her if you like.  That would not be a bad notion.  But if you do, you’ll forget all about me and Lady Hayward.’

‘No; I shall never forget you, Rose.’  He stretched his hand to her; but, irrespective of his will, the gesture seemed full of farewell.

‘I’m so much obliged to you,’ he said; ’had it not been for you, I might never have opened that letter.’

’Even if you hadn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered; you would have heard of your good fortune some other way.  But it is getting very late.  I must say good-night.  I hope you will have a pleasant time in the country, and will finish your play.  Good-night.’

Returning from the door, he stopped to think.  ’We have been very good friends—­that is all.  How strangely determined she is!...  More so than I am.  She is bound to succeed.  There is in her just that note of individual passion....  Perhaps some one will find her out before I have finished,—­that would be a pity.  I wonder which of us will succeed first?’

Then the madness of good fortune came upon him suddenly; he could think no more of Rose, and had to go for a long walk in the streets.


‘Dearest Emily, you must prepare yourself for the worst.’

‘Is he dead?’

’Yes; he passed away quite quietly.  To look at him one would say he was asleep; he does not appear to have suffered at all.’

’Oh, Julia, Julia, do you think he forgave me?  I could not do what he asked me....  I loved him very dearly as a father, but I could not have married him.’

’No, dear, you could not.  Such a marriage would have been most unnatural; he was more than forty years older than you.’

’I do not think he ever thought of such a thing until about a month or six weeks ago.  You remember how I ran to you?  I was as white as a ghost, and I trembled like a leaf.  I could hardly speak....  You remember?’

’Yes, I remember; and some hours after, when I came into this room, he was standing there, just there, on the hearth-rug; there was a fearful look of pain and despair on his face—­he looked as if he was going mad.  I never saw such a look before, and I never wish to see such a look again.  And the effort he made to appear unconcerned when he saw me was perhaps the worst part of it.  I pretended to see nothing, and walked away towards the window and looked out.  But all the while I could feel that some terrible drama was passing behind me.  At last I had to look round.  He was sitting in that chair, his elbows on his knees, clasping his head with both hands, the old, gnarled fingers twined in the iron-grey hair.  Then, unable to contain himself any longer, he rushed out of the room, out of the house, and across the park.’

‘You say that he passed away quietly; he did not seem to suffer at all?’

‘No, he never recovered consciousness.’

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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