The Maid of Maiden Lane eBook

Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about The Maid of Maiden Lane.

“There is no name, George, however sweet and dear, however lovingly spoken, whose echo does not at last grow faint.”

“Cornelia will echo in my heart as long as my heart beats.”

Then they were silent, and Hyde drew his dog closer and watched the blaze among some lighter branches, which a servant had just brought in.  At his entrance he had also given Annie a letter, which she was eagerly reading.  Hyde had no speculation about it; and even when he found Annie regarding him with her whole soul in her face, he failed to understand, as he always had done, the noble love which had been so long and so faithfully his—­a love holding itself above endearments; self-repressed, self-sacrificing, kept down in the inmost heart-chamber a dignified prisoner behind very real bars.  Yet he was conscious that the letter was of more than usual interest, and when the servant had closed the door behind him, he asked, “Whom is your letter from, Annie?  It seems to please you very much.”

She leaned forward to him with the paper in her little trembling hand, and said,

“It is from Cornelia.”

“My God!” he ejaculated; and the words were fraught with such feeling, as could have found no other vehicle of expression.

“She has sent you, dear George, a copy of the letter you ought to have received more than two years ago.  Read it.”

His eyes ran rapidly over the sweet words, his face flamed, his hands trembled, he cried out impetuously—­

“But what does it mean?  Am I quite in my senses?  How has this letter been delayed?  Why do I get only a copy ?”

“Because Mr. Van Ariens has the original.”

“It is all incredible.  What do you mean, Annie?  Do not keep me in such torturing suspense.”

“It means that Mr. Van Ariens asked Cornelia to marry him on the same day that you wrote to her about your marriage.  She answered both letters in the same hour, and misdirected them.”

God’s death!  How can I punish so mean a scoundrel?  I will have my letter from him, if I follow him round the world for it.”

“You have your letter now.  I asked Cornelia to write it again for you; and you see she has done it gladly.”

“Angel of goodness!  But I will have my first letter.”

“It has been in that man’s keeping for more than two years.  I would not touch it.  ’Twould infect a gentleman, and make of him a rascal just as base.”

“He shall write me then an apology in his own blood.  I will make him do it, at the point of my sword.”

“If I were you, I would scorn to wet my sword in blood so base.”

“Remember, Annie, what this darling girl suffered.  For his treachery she nearly died.  I speak not of my own wrong—­it is as nothing to hers.”

“However, she might have been more careful.”

“Annie, she was in the happy hurry of love.  Your calm soul knows not what a confusing thing that is—­she made a mistake, and that sneaking villain turned her mistake into a crime.  By a God’s mercy, it is found out—­but how?  Annie!  Annie, how much I owe you!  What can I say?  What can I do?”

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The Maid of Maiden Lane from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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