It was a clever letter; Lady Honoria could not have devised one more powerful to work on a woman like Beatrice. The same post that took it to her took another from Geoffrey himself. It was long, though guarded, and need not be quoted in its entirety, but it put the whole position before her in somewhat veiled language, and ended by saying, “Marriage I cannot give you, only life-long love. In other circumstances to offer this would be an insult, but if things should be as a I fear, it is worth your consideration. I do not say to you come, I say come if you wish. No, Beatrice, I will not put this cruel burden of decision upon you. I say come! I do not command you to come, because I promised to leave you uninfluenced. But I pray you to do so. Let us put an end to this wretchedness, and count the world well lost as our price of love. Come, dearest Beatrice—to leave me no more till death. I put my life in your hands; if you take it up, whatever trouble you may have to face, you will never lose my affection or esteem. Do not think of me, think of yourself. You have given me your love as you once gave me my life. I owe something in return; I cannot see you shamed and make no offer of reparation. Indeed, so far as I am concerned, I shall think all I lose as nothing compared to what I gain in gaining you. Will you come? If so, we will leave this country and begin afresh elsewhere. After all, it matters little, and will matter less when everything is said and done. My life has for years been but as an unwholesome dream. The one real thing, the one happy thing that I have found in it has been our love. Do not let us throw it away, Beatrice.”
By return of post he received this answer written in pencil.
“No, dear Geoffrey. Things must take their course.—B.”
That was all.
ELIZABETH SHOWS HER TEETH
Hard had been Beatrice’s hours since that grey morning of separation. She must bear all the inner wretchedness of her lot; she must conceal her grief, must suffer the slings and arrows of Elizabeth’s sharp tongue, and strive to keep Owen Davies at a distance. Indeed, as the days went on, this last task grew more and more portentous. The man was quite unmanageable; his passion, which was humiliating and hateful to Beatrice, became the talk of the place. Everybody knew of it, except her father, and even his eyes began to be opened.
One night—it was the same upon which Geoffrey and Honoria respectively had posted their letters to Beatrice—anybody looking into the little room at Bryngelly Castle, which served its owner for all purposes except that of sleeping, would have witnessed a very strange sight. Owen Davies was walking to and fro—walking rapidly with wild eyes and dishevelled hair. At the turn of each length of the apartment he would halt, and throwing his arms into the air ejaculate: