Vain Fortune eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about Vain Fortune.

XVII

In some trepidation Julia knocked.  Receiving no reply, she opened the door, and her candle burnt in what a moment before must have been inky darkness.  Emily lay on her bed—­on the edge of it; and the only movement she made was to avert her eyes from the light.  ’What! all alone in this darkness, Emily!...  Shall I light your candles?’ She had to repeat the question before she could get an answer.

’No, thank you; I want nothing; I have no wish to see anything.  I like the dark.’

‘Have you been asleep?’

’No; I have not....  Why do you come to torment me?  It cannot matter to you whether I lie in the dark or the light.  Oh, take that candle away! it is blinding me.’  Julia put the candle on the washstand.  Then full of pity for the grieving girl, she stood, her hand resting on the bed-rail.

’Aren’t you coming down to dinner, Emily?  Come, let me pour out some water for you.  When you have bathed your eyes——­’

‘I don’t want any dinner.’

’It will look very strange if you remain in your room the whole evening.  You do not want to vex him, do you?’

’I suppose he is very angry with me.  But I did not mean to vex him.  Is he very angry?’

’No, he is not angry at all; he is merely distressed.  You distress him dreadfully when——­’

’I don’t know why I should distress him.  I’m sure I don’t mean to.  You know more about it than I. You are always whispering together—­talking about me.’

’I assure you, Emily, you are mistaken.  Mr. Price and I have no secrets whatever.’

‘Why should you tell me these falsehoods?  They make me so miserable.’

‘Falsehoods, Emily!  When did you ever know me to tell a falsehood?’

’You say you have no secrets!  Do you think I am blind?  You think, I suppose, I did not see you showing him a ring?  You took it off, too; and I suppose you gave it to him,—­an engagement ring, very likely.’

’I lost a stone from my ring, and I asked Mr. Price if he would take the ring to London and have the stone replaced....  That is all.  So you see how your imagination has run away with you.’

Emily did not answer.  At last she said, breaking the silence abruptly—­

’Is he very angry?  Has he gone to his study?  Do you think he will come down to dinner?’

‘I suppose he’ll come down for dinner.’

‘Will you go and ask him?’

’I hardly see how I can do that.  He is very busy....  And if you would listen to any advice of mine, it would be to leave him to himself as much as possible for the present.  He is so taken up with his play; I know he’s most anxious about it.’

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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