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BETTY SHOWS HER TEETH
"Senora," said Inez, "you think that you have something against me."
"No," answered Margaret, "you are--what you are; why should I blame
"Well, against the Senor Brome then?"
"Perhaps, but that is between me and him. I will not discuss it with
"Senora," went on Inez, with a slow smile, "we are both innocent of what
you thought you saw."
"Indeed; then who is guilty?"
"The Marquis of Morella."
Margaret made no answer, but her eyes said much.
"Senora, you do not believe me, nor is it wonderful. Yet I speak the
truth. What you saw from the tower was a play in which the Senor Brome
took his part badly enough, as you may have noticed, because I told him
that my life hung on it. I have nursed him through a sore sickness,
Senora, and he is not ungrateful."
"So I judged; but I do not understand you."
"Senora, I am a slave in this house, a discarded slave. Perhaps you can
guess the rest, it is a common story here. I was offered my freedom at a
price, that I should weave myself into this man's heart, I who am held
fair, and make him my lover. If I failed, then perhaps I should be sold
as a slave--perhaps worse. I accepted--why should I not? It was a small
thing to me. On the one hand, life, freedom, and wealth, an hidalgo of
good blood and a gallant friend for a little while, and, on the other,
the last shame or blackness which doubtless await me now--if I am found
out. Senora, I failed, who in truth did not try hard to succeed. The man
looked on me as his nurse, no more, and to me he was one very sick, no
more. Also, we grew to be true friends, and in this way or in that I
learned all his story, learned also why the trap was baited thus--that
you might be deceived and fall into a deeper trap. Senora, I could not
explain it all to him, indeed, in that chamber where we were spied on, I
had but little chance. Still, it was necessary that he should seem to be
what he is not, so I took him into the garden and, knowing well who
watched us, made him act his part, well enough to deceive you it
"Still I do not understand," said Margaret more softly. "You say that
your life or welfare hung on this shameful business. Then why do you
reveal it to me now?"
"To save you from yourself, Senora, to save my friend the Senor Brome,
and to pay back Morella in his own coin."
"How will you do these things?"
"The first two are done, I think, but the third is difficult. It is of
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