“Splendid! Oh! what fun it will be to see him! And such glorious revenge, too!”
“Seriously, Mollie,” said Mr. Ingelow, “he deserves to be punished for his unmanly trick.”
“And he shall be!” Mollie cried, her eyes sparkling. “He shall be, if all the world knows the story! What care I? I will have my revenge on the man I hate—on the man who has wronged me beyond reparation. And then I can go away where no one will know me, and make my own way through the world, as I did before I ever came to New York.”
Hugh Ingelow looked at her. Her eyes were alight, her cheeks flushed, her whole face eager, angry, and aglow.
“Wronged you beyond reparation!” he slowly repeated. “Mollie, what do you mean?”
“I mean,” Mollie passionately cried, “that I am his wife. And I will never forgive him for making me that—never, never, if it were my dying day!”
The young man looked at her thunder-struck.
“Oh! you don’t know. You hadn’t heard, of course. It wasn’t this time. I would have murdered him and myself this time before he would ever lay a finger on me. It was before. You remember that other time I was carried off?”
It was all Mr. Ingelow said; but, singular to relate, he looked unutterably relieved.
“He married me then—forced me to marry him—and I—Oh, miserable girl that I am! why did I not die a thousand deaths sooner than consent? But I was mad, and it’s too late now. Mr. Rashleigh married us. You recollect that story he told at Mrs. Grand’s dinner-party? Well, I was the masked heroine of that adventure; but I never, never, never thought Guy Oleander was the hero. I’d have died, even then, sooner than become his wife. I hoped it was—I thought it was—”
She paused abruptly.
“Who?” pointedly asked Hugh Ingelow.
Mollie stole a side-long glance from under her sweeping lashes at the handsome face.
“Some one who loved me as well, and whom I—well, didn’t exactly hate; and I do hate Doctor Oleander!”
“Which is extremely natural; at the same time wicked, I suppose. Now, Mollie, don’t try to keep awake and talk, because the journey is long and dreary. Follow Mrs. Sharpe’s example and go to sleep.”
He wrapped her up closer; and Mollie, with a delicious sense of safety, and comfort, and sleepiness, cuddled close in her wraps and felt luxuriously happy.
She had slept very little of late. Tears had been her nightly portion, instead of slumber. Now she was happy and at rest; and the very rush of the swift wind, as they bowled along, made her drowsy. She leaned her head against his arm and fell fast asleep.
It was broad day when Mollie awoke, the sun shining brilliantly. She started up on her elbow, bewildered, and gazed around.