The Tale of Chloe eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 97 pages of information about The Tale of Chloe.

‘Mr. Beamish is an excellent protector of the duchess.’

’Excellent; and he is cleverly taught to suppose she fears him greatly; and when she offends him, he makes a display of his Jupiter’s awfulness, with the effect on woman of natural spirit which you have seen, and others had foreseen, that she is exasperated and grows reckless.  Tie another knot in your string, Chloe.’

She looked away, saying, ’Were you not the cause?  You were in collusion with that charlatan of the heath, who told them their fortunes this morning.  I see far, both in the dark and in the light.’

‘But not through a curtain.  I was present.’

’Hateful, hateful business of the spy!  You have worked a great mischief Mr. Camwell.  And how can you reconcile it to, your conscience that you should play so base a part?’

‘I have but performed my duty, dear madam.’

’You pretend that it is your devotion to me!  I might be flattered if I saw not so abject a figure in my service.  Now have I but four days of my month of happiness remaining, and my request to you is, leave me to enjoy them.  I beseech you to go.  Very humbly, most earnestly, I beg your departure.  Grant it to me, and do not stay to poison my last days here.  Leave us to-morrow.  I will admit your good intentions.  I give you my hand in gratitude.  Adieu, Mr. Camwell.’

He took her hand.  ’Adieu.  I foresee an early separation, and this dear hand is mine while I have it in mine.  Adieu.  It is a word to be repeated at a parting like ours.  We do not blow out our light with one breath:  we let it fade gradually, like yonder sunset.’

‘Speak so,’ said she.

’Ah, Chloe, to give one’s life!  And it is your happiness I have sought more than your favor.’

‘I believe it; but I have not liked the means.  You leave us to-morrow?’

‘It seems to me that to-morrow is the term.’

Her face clouded.  ‘That tells me a very uncertain promise.’

’You looked forth to a month of happiness—­meaning a month of delusion.  The delusion expires to-night.  You will awaken to see your end of it in the morning.  You have never looked beyond the month since the day of his arrival.’

‘Let him not be named, I supplicate you.’

’Then you consent that another shall be sacrificed for you to enjoy your state of deception an hour longer?’

’I am not deceived, sir.  I wish for peace, and crave it, and that is all I would have.’

’And you make her your peace-offering, whom you have engaged to serve!  Too surely your eyes have been open as well as mine.  Knot by knot—­ I have watched you—­where is it?—­you have marked the points in that silken string where the confirmation of a just suspicion was too strong for you.’

‘I did it, and still I continued merry?’ She subsided from her scornfulness on an involuntary ‘Ah!’ that was a shudder.

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The Tale of Chloe from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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