“Now, don’t coax, little girl. I must go down.”
“See you later,” Dickey called after him as he disappeared through the narrow opening. Dorothy turned her stony face slightly, and quick, angry eyes looked for an instant into the upturned face of the man who was swallowed in the darkness of the trap hole almost in the same second.
“Don’t fall off the tower, Lady Jane,” came the hollow voice from the ladders far below, and, to Dorothy’s sensitive ears, there was the most devilish mockery in the tones.
“I can forgive all of you—all of you, but—but—never that inhuman wretch! Oh, how I hate him!” cried she, her face ablaze, her voice trembling with passion.
“Oh, Dorothy!” cried Lady Jane, softly, imploringly.
“I wish from my soul, that this tower might tumble down and kill him this instant, and that his bones could never be found!” wailed the other.
“There’s an awful weight above him, Miss Garrison—the weight of your wrath,” said Dickey, without a smile.
THE WHITE FLAG
After returning to her room later on, Dorothy eagerly devoured the contents of the newspapers, which were a day or two old. They devoted columns to the great abduction mystery; pictured the grief of the mother and marvelled at her courage and fortitude; traced the brigands over divers streets to the deserted house; gave interviews with the bride’s fiance, her uncle and the servants who were found in the stables; speculated on the designs of the robbers, their whereabouts and the nature of their next move; drew vivid and terrifying visions of the lovely bride lying in some wretched cave, hovel or cellar, tortured and suffering the agony of the damned. Opinions of police officers disclosed some astonishing solutions to the mystery, but, withal, there was a tone of utter bewilderment in the situation as they pictured it. She read the long and valiant declaration of Prince Ugo Ravorelli, the frantic, broken-hearted bridegroom, in which he swore to rescue the fair one from the dastards, “whoever and wherever they might be.” Somehow, to her, his words, in cold print, looked false, artificial, theatrical—anything but brave and convincing.
She stared in amazement at the proclamation offering 100,000 francs for her restoration. The general opinion, however, was that the abductors might reasonably be expected to submit a proposition to give up their prize for not less than twice the amount. To a man the police maintained that Miss Garrison was confined somewhere in the city of Brussels. There were, with the speculations and conjectures, no end of biographical sketches and portraits. She found herself reading with a sort of amused interest the story of how one of the maids had buckled her satin slippers, another had dressed her hair, another had done something and another something else. It was all very entertaining,