+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error



MR. FROST'S cross-examination elicited
more truth from Veronica than she had
intended to tell, or than she was aware she
had told. She had meant, indeed, to narrate
the main facts of her case as they were;
but at the same time to present them in such
a manner as to gain her hearer's sympathies
wholly for herself. She could not have
spoken to the raggedest lazzarone without
trying to make an effect: only in different
cases she adopted different means for the
attainment of the same end.

Mr. Frost read her like a book. For
Mr. Frost's clear judgment was not dazzled
by the glamour of her beauty. He was
infatuatedly in love with another woman.
He thought Georgina far handsomer and
more stately than this girl. And how
superbly indifferent she was to his
feelings! He knew that her heart was as hard
as the nether millstone. But he had taken
the first downward step in his life to win

When a man like Mr. Frost has done so
much to gain any object, he does not easily
cease to prize it. That would be to
acknowledge his whole life a failure; and Mr.
Frost hated failure, and, more deeply still,
he hated the acknowledgment of failure.

The natural bias of his mind being
towards hard judgments, and his professional
experience having taught him to expect
evil, he had at first been more than half
inclined to suspect Veronica of having known
all along that Sir John was a married man,
and of having been an accomplice in the
commission of bigamy. But at last he
satisfied himself that she had been duped.

"But still I do not quite understand why
he should have run that risk, " said Mr.
Frost, thoughtfully.

"He ran no risk. His doctors had told
him that he could not live a month. And

"You importuned him, I suppose?"

"I did not importune Sir John. I never
importuned him. And as to our marriage
he was bound by the most solemn
obligations to make me his wife."

"Obligations which he never could have
looked upon as binding, in the least: since
he knew, although you did not, that his
real wife was living. No, no; the 'solemn
obligations' had nothing to do with it."

"But I had threatened to leave him,
unless he did me right and justice."

"No doubt he would not have liked that.
His pride (to speak of no other feeling)
would have sufficed to make that painful
to him. But, excuse me, that threat would
scarcely have had any influence so long as
he thought it a vain one!"

"It was not a vain threat; and he knew
it was not. I could have left him, and I
would have done so. I should have
appealed to my cousin, Prince Cesare, for
assistance and protection."

"Aye, aye, that, indeed! Jealousy, and
resentment, and bitterness, and envy of the
folks who were going to live after he was
dead! Yes: and then he secured peace
and quietness for himself at the last, and
prevented your leaving him."

"And he thought he was snaring me!"
said Veronica, her breath coming quickly,
and her splendid brows creasing themselves
near together. " He thought I was his dupe
and his victim. He meant me to awaken to
unspeakable shame and misery after he was