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perchance, all three of these powers drove her on,--love for the man if
it still lingered, the desire to be avenged upon him, and the desire to
snatch his prey from out his maw. At least she had set the game, and she
would play it out to its end, however awful that might be.
The sun sank, the darkness closed about her, and she wondered whether
ever again she would see the dawn. Her brave heart quailed a little, and
she gripped the dagger hilt beneath her splendid, borrowed robe,
thinking to herself that perhaps it might be wisest to drive it into her
own breast, and not wait until a balked madman did that office for her.
Yet not so, for it is always time to die when one must.
A knock came at the door, and her courage, which had sunk so low, burned
up again within her. Oh! she would teach this Spaniard that the
Englishwoman, whom he had made believe was his desired mistress, could
be his master. At any rate, he should hear the truth before the end.
She unlocked the door, and Inez entered bearing a lamp, by the light of
which she scanned her with her quiet eyes.
"The bridegroom is ready," she said slowly that Betty might understand,
"and sends me to lead you to him. Are you afraid?"
"Not I," answered Betty. "But tell me, how will the thing be done?"
"The marquis meets us in the ante-room to that hall which is used as a
chapel, and there on behalf of the household I, as the first of the
women, give you both the cups of wine. Be sure that you drink of that
which I hold in my left hand, passing the cup up beneath your veil so as
not to show your face, and speak no word, lest he should recognise your
voice. Then we shall go into the chapel, where the priest Henriques
waits, also all the household. But that hall is great, and the lamps are
feeble, so none will know you there. By this time also the drugged wine
will have begun to work upon Morella's brain, wherefore, provided that
you use a low voice, you may safely say, 'I, Betty, wed thee, Carlos,'
not 'I, Margaret, wed thee.' Then, when it is over, he will lead you
away to the chambers prepared for you, where, if there is any virtue in
my wine, he will sleep sound to-night, that is, as soon as the priest
has given me the marriage-lines, whereof I will hand you one copy and
keep the others. Afterwards----" and she shrugged her shoulders.
"What becomes of you?" asked Betty, when she had fully mastered these
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