Vain Fortune eBook

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

’There is nothing, so far as I can make out, organically the matter with her, but the system is running down.  She is very thin and weak.  I shall prescribe a tonic, but——­’

‘But what, doctor?’

’She seems to be suffering from extreme depression of spirits.  Do you know of any secret grief—­any love affair?  At her age, anything of that sort fills the entire mind, and the consequences are often grave.’

’And supposing it were so, what would be your advice?  Change of air and scene?’

‘Certainly.’

‘Have you spoken to her on the subject?’

‘Yes; but she says she will not leave Ashwood.’

‘We cannot send her away by force.  What would you advise us to do?’

’There’s nothing to be done.  We must hope for the best.  There is no immediate cause for fear....  But, by the way, she looks as if she suffered from sleeplessness.’

‘Yes, she does; but she has been ordered chloral.  Any harm in that?’

‘In her case, it is a necessity; but do you think she takes it?’

‘Oh yes, she has been taking choral.’

The conversation paused; the doctor went over to the writing-table, wrote a prescription, made a few remarks, and took his leave, announcing his intention of returning that day fortnight.

Hubert said, and his tone implied reference to some anterior conversation, ’We are powerless in this matter.  You see we can do nothing.  We only succeed in making ourselves unhappy; we do not change in anything.  I am wretchedly unhappy!’

‘Believe me,’ she said, raising her arms in a beautiful feminine movement, ‘I do not wish to make you unhappy.’

’Then why do you persist?  Why do you refuse to take the only step that may lead us out of this difficulty?’

’How can you ask me?  Oh, Hubert, I did not think you could be so cruel!  It would be a shameful action.’

It was the first time she had used his Christian name, and his face changed expression.

‘I cannot,’ she said, ’and I will not, and I do not understand how you can ask me—­you who are so loyal, how can you ask me to be disloyal?’

’Spare me your reproaches.  Fate has been cruel.  I have never told you the story of my life.  I have suffered deeply; my pride has been humiliated, and I have endured hunger and cold; but those sufferings were light compared to this last misfortune.’

She looked at him with sublime pity in her eyes.  ’I do not conceal from you,’ she said, ’that I love you very much.  I, too, have suffered, and I had thought for one moment that fate had vouchsafed me happiness; but, as you would say—­the irony of life.’

‘Julia, do not say you never will?’

’We cannot look into the future.  But this I can say—­I will not do Emily any wrong, and so far as is in my power I will avoid giving her pain.  There is only one way out of this difficulty.  I must leave this house as soon as I can persuade her to let me go.’

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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