‘He would play the thief,’ she cried passionately, ’as he has played the hypocrite. Oh, it is vile! vile!’
‘But—I don’t understand,’ Mr. Thomasson stammered; he was willing to hear all he could.
‘His fortune, his lands, all he has in the world are mine!’ she cried. ’Mine! And he goes this way to recover them! But I could forgive him that, ah, I could forgive him that, but I cannot forgive him—’
‘What?’ he said.
‘His love!’ she cried fiercely. ‘That I will never forgive him! Never!’
He knew that she spoke, as she had wept, more freely for the darkness. He fancied that she was writhing on her seat, that she was tearing her handkerchief with her hands. ‘But—it may not be he,’ he said after a silence broken only by the rumble of wheels and the steady trampling of the horses.
‘It is!’ she cried. ‘It is!’
‘It may not—’
‘I say it is!’ she repeated in a kind of fury of rage, shame, and impatience. ’Do you think that I who loved him, I whom he fooled to the top of my pride, judge him too harshly? I tell you if an angel from heaven had witnessed against him I would have laughed the tale to scorn. But I have seen—I have seen with my own eyes. The man who came to the door and threatened us had lost a joint of the forefinger. Yesterday I saw that man with him; I saw the hand that held the pistol to-day give him a note yesterday. I saw him read the note, and I saw him point me out to the man who bore it—that he might know to-day whom he was to seize! Oh shame! Shame on him!’ And she burst into fresh weeping.
At that moment the chaise, which had been proceeding for some time at a more sober pace, swerved sharply to one side; it appeared to sweep round a corner, jolted over a rough patch of ground, and came to a stand.
Let not those who would judge her harshly forget that Julia, to an impulsive and passionate nature, added a special and notable disadvantage. She had been educated in a sphere alien from that in which she now moved. A girl, brought up as Sir George’s cousin and among her equals, would have known him to be incapable of treachery as black as this. Such a girl, certified of his love, not only by his words and looks but by her own self-respect and pride, would have shut her eyes to the most pregnant facts and the most cogent inferences; and scorned all her senses, one by one, rather than believe him guilty. She would have felt, rightly or wrongly, that the thing was impossible; and would have believed everything in the world, yes, everything, possible or impossible—yet never that he had lied when he told her that he loved her.