Vendetta: a story of one forgotten eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 542 pages of information about Vendetta.

adding the names of her parents and the date of her birth and death.  Since all this had been done I had visited my wife several times.  She was always at home to me, though of course, for decency’s sake, in consequence of the child’s death, she denied herself to everybody else.  She looked lovelier than ever; the air of delicate languor she assumed suited her as perfectly as its fragile whiteness suits a hot-house lily.  She knew the power of her own beauty most thoroughly, and employed it in arduous efforts to fascinate me.  But I had changed my tactics; I paid very little heed to her, and never went to see her unless she asked me very pressingly to do so.  All compliments and attentions from me to her had ceased.  She courted me, and I accepted her courtship in unresponsive silence.  I played the part of a taciturn and reserved man, who preferred reading some ancient and abstruse treatise on metaphysics to even the charms of her society—­and often, when she urgently desired my company, I would sit in her drawing-room, turning over the leaves of a book and feigning to be absorbed in it, while she, from her velvet fauteuil, would look at me with a pretty pensiveness made up half of respect, half of gentle admiration—­a capitally acted facial expression, by the bye, and one that would do credit to Sarah Bernhardt.  We had both heard from Guido Ferrari; his letter to my wife I of course did not see; she had, however, told me he was “much shocked and distressed to hear of Stella’s death.”  The epistle he addressed to me had a different tale to tell.  In it he wrote—­“You can understand, my dear conte, that I am not much grieved to hear of the death of Fabio’s child.  Had she lived, I confess her presence would have been a perpetual reminder to me of things I prefer to forget.  She never liked me—­she might have been a great source of trouble and inconvenience; so, on the whole, I am glad she is out of the way.”

Further on in the letter he informed me: 

“My uncle is at death’s door, but though that door stands wide open for him, he cannot make up his mind to go in.  His hesitation will not be allowed to last, so the doctors tell me—­at any rate I fervently hope I shall not be kept waiting too long, otherwise I shall return to Naples and sacrifice my heritage, for I am restless and unhappy away from Nina, though I know she is safely guarded by your protecting care.”

I read this particular paragraph to my wife, watching her closely as I slowly enunciated the words contained in it.  She listened, and a vivid blush crimsoned her cheeks—­a blush of indignation—­and her brows contracted in the vexed frown I knew so well.  Her lips parted in a half-sweet, half-chilly smile as she said, quietly: 

“I owe you my thanks, conte, for showing me to what extent Signor Ferrari’s impertinence may reach.  I am surprised at his writing to you in such a manner!  The fact is, my late husband’s attachment for him was so extreme that he now presumes upon a supposed right that he has over me—­he fancies I am really his sister, and that he can tyrannize, as brothers sometimes do!  I really regret I have been so patient with him—­I have allowed him too much liberty.”

Project Gutenberg
Vendetta: a story of one forgotten from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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