|• Main||• Contacts|
BETTY PAYS HER DEBTS
Betty Dene was not a woman afflicted with fears or apprehensions. Born
of good parents, but in poverty, for six-and-twenty years she had fought
her own way in a rough world and made the best of circumstances.
Healthy, full-blooded, tough, affectionate, romantic, but honest in her
way, she was well fitted to meet the ups and downs of life, to keep her
head above the waters of a turbulent age, and to pay back as much as she
received from man or woman.
Yet those long hours which she passed alone in the high turret chamber,
waiting till they summoned her to play the part of a false bride, were
the worst that she had ever spent. She knew that her position was, in a
sense, shameful, and like to end in tragedy, and, now that she faced it
in cold blood, began to wonder why she had chosen so to do. She had
fallen in love with the Spaniard almost at first sight, though it is
true that something like this had happened to her before with other men.
Then he had played his part with her, till, quite deceived, she gave all
her heart to him in good earnest, believing in her infatuation that,
notwithstanding the difference of their place and rank, he desired to
make her his wife for her own sake.
Afterwards came that bitter day of disillusion when she learned, as
Inez had said to Castell, that she was but a stalking heifer used for
the taking of the white swan, her cousin and mistress--that day when she
had been beguiled by the letter which was still hid in her garments, and
for her pains heard herself called a fool to her face. In her heart she
had sworn to be avenged upon Morella then, and now the hour had come in
which to fulfil her oath and play him back trick for cruel trick.
Did she still love the man? She could not say. He was pleasing to her as
he had always been, and when that is so women forgive much. This was
certain, however--love was not her guide to-night. Was it vengeance then
that led her on? Perhaps; at least she longed to be able to say to him,
"See what craft lies hid even in the bosom of an outwitted fool."
Yet she would not have done it for vengeance' sake alone, or rather she
would have paid herself in some other fashion. No, her real reason was
that she must discharge the debt due to Margaret and Peter, and to
Castell who had sheltered her for years. She it was who had brought them
into all this woe, and it seemed but just that she should bring them out
again, even at the cost of her own life and womanly dignity. Or,
Page 1 from 11:  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Forward