“You see me, Ellen Walton, and in me your worst enemy, because you will not permit me to be a friend. I have made the present attempt to win you by stratagem, in the not very sanguine hope of success. I have failed—now for my revenge. Know that all I have said concerning my plans, and the net I have woven around you, is true. You are now in my power, and I only forbear taking you captive at this time because I wish you to live for a short period in dread and suspense, as you once made me.”
“Keep to the truth, sir, in making your statements.”
“I intend to; and so bid you beware, and to escape if you can!”
“I have a very comfortable expectation for the future, thank you.”
“Well, cherish it, then; hug it close, for it will be short lived, I give you fair warning.”
“The warnings of a man who comes with the tissue of falsehood, are of little worth. Keep them to yourself.”
“Beware how you presume on my forbearance; it may give way.”
“I presume on nothing but your cowardice.”
“Enough! enough! I will bear no more! I go, but you will see me soon again! Your doom is sealed! ‘Cowardice!’ This from a woman! Gods! but I’ll remember this in my revenge!”
He started, as if to leave the place, but turned again, and said.
“Girl, I dislike to leave you in this manner. For the love I bear you, I would still see you happy—happy as a wife and not a despised outcast—the scorn of society. You might once have been my honorable bride; yes, you might still be. Passing by all your insults, I would still offer you my hand, and honorable marriage.”
“Infamous villain! how dare you insult my self-respect by even naming such a thing? Never dare again, to couple my name with yours! never, sir! It is the basest sacrilege to humanity!”
“Very well. Our names shall not be coupled; our destinies shall be! Go, with the consoling thought to cheer you for a few fleeting hours. Here I stand and swear it—witness my oath, ye trees! witness it, earth and sky! and, if such beings there are, witness it, angels and devils—Ellen Walton shall be mine!”
He was so deeply absorbed in calling on his witnesses, he noticed nothing about him, and now looking to the spot where she stood, to observe the effect of his words, behold, Ellen was not there. His tragic agony had been wasted on the “desert air.” Turning away once more, he left the place in a rage.
Ellen, though she had left, heard his words in the distance, and notwithstanding she had made a show of boldness, she was really alarmed, and greatly dreaded the future. She knew that an evil-minded man, however contemptible, was capable of doing infinite harm to a fellow-being, when determinedly set thereon. Thus, between hope and fear, her time was passed.