“Love you!” he cried. “Love you! An unnatural child! An ingrate! One who turns from me so lightly!” He laughed bitterly, eyeing her with chilling scrutiny. “You dare recall my love for you!” Suddenly he stood upright, levelling a heavy, trembling arm at her. “You think an appeal to my love will save him! Fool!”
Virginia’s breath caught in her throat. She straightened, clutched the neckband of her gown. Then her head fell slowly forward. She had fainted in her lover’s arms.
They stood exactly so for an appreciable interval, bewildered by the suddenness of this outcome; Galen Albret’s hand outstretched in denunciation; the girl like a broken lily, supported in the young man’s arms; he searching her face passionately for a sign of life; Me-en-gan, straight and sorrowful, again at the door.
Then the old man’s arm dropped slowly, His gaze wavered. The lines of his face relaxed. Twice he made an effort to turn away. All at once his stubborn spirit broke; he uttered a cry, and sprang forward to snatch the unconscious form hungrily into his bear clasp, searching the girl’s face, muttering incoherent things.
“Quick!” he cried, aloud, the guttural sounds jostling one another in his throat. “Get Wishkobun, quick!”
Ned Trent looked at him with steady scorn, his arms folded.
“Ah!” he dropped distinctly in deliberate monosyllables across the surcharged atmosphere of the scene. “So it seems you have found your heart, my friend!”
Galen Albret glared wildly at him over the girl’s fair head.
“She is my daughter,” he mumbled.
They carried the unconscious girl into the dim-lighted apartment of the curtained windows, and laid her on the divan. Wishkobun, hastily summoned, unfastened the girl’s dress at the throat.
“It is a faint,” she announced in her own tongue. “She will recover in a few minutes; I will get some water.”
Ned Trent wiped the moisture from his forehead with his handkerchief. The danger he had undergone coolly, but this overcame his iron self-control. Galen Albret, like an anxious bear, weaved back and forth the length of the couch. In him the rumble of the storm was but just echoing into distance.
“Go into the next room,” he growled at the Free Trader, when finally he noticed the latter’s presence.