The Reason Why eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Reason Why.
although it seemed impossible to her, Lady Ethelrida was attracted by him, too.  Yes, that must be it.  It was to be connected with the family, to make his position stronger in the Duke’s eyes, that he had done this cruel thing.  But, would it have been cruel if she herself had been human and different?  He had called her from struggling and poverty, had given her this splendid young husband, and riches and place,—­no, there was nothing cruel in it, as a calculated action.  It should have given her her heart’s desire.  It was she, herself, who had brought about things as they were, because of her ignorance, that was the cruelty, to have let her go away with Tristram, in ignorance.

Then the aspect of the case that she had been offered to him and refused! scourged her again; then the remembrance that he had taken her, for love.  And what motive could he imagine she had had?  This struck her for the first time—­how infinitely more generous he had been—­for he had not allowed, what he must have thought was pure mercenariness and desire for position on her part to interfere with his desire for her personally.  He had never turned upon her, as she saw now he very well could have done, and thrown this in her teeth.  And then she fell to bitter sobbing, and so at last to sleep.

And when the fire had died out, towards the gray dawn, she woke again shivering and in mortal fright, for she had dreamed of Mirko, and that he was being torn from her, while he played the Chanson Triste.  Then she grew fully awake and remembered that this was the beginning of the new day—­the day she should go to her husband’s home; and she had accused him of all the base things a man could do, and he had behaved like a gentleman; and it was she who was base, and had sold herself for her brother’s life, sold what should never be bartered for any life, but only for love.

Well, there was nothing to be done, only to “play the game”—­the hackneyed phrase came back to her; he had used it, so it was sacred.  Yes, all she could do for him now was, to “play the game”—­everything else was—­too late.

CHAPTER XXXIII

People left by all sorts of trains and motors in the morning; but there were still one or two remaining, when the bride and bridegroom made their departure, in their beautiful new car with its smart servants, which had come to fetch them, and take them to Wrayth.

And, just as the Dover young ladies on the pier had admired their embarkation, with its apanages of position and its romantic look, so every one who saw them leave Montfitchet was alike elated.  They were certainly an ideal pair.

Zara had taken the greatest pains to dress herself in her best.  She remembered Tristram had admired her the first evening they had arrived for this visit, when she had worn sapphire blue, so now she put on the same colored velvet and the sable coat—­yes, he liked that best, too, and she clasped some of his sapphire jewels in her ears and at her throat.  No bride ever looked more beautiful or distinguished, with her gardenia complexion and red burnished hair, all set off by the velvet and dark fur.

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The Reason Why from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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