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had not remained alone with him for a
moment during dinner, and she had been
careful to speak to him in Italian, so that
the servants might understand what was
being said. All this Sir John well knew,
and was puzzled. He would have been glad
to convince himself that he had misinterpreted
that fugitive glance: but that could
not be. It was such a look as Veronica had
never given himSir John. The man who
has a secret consciousness that he has injured
you, is, we know, very ready to find cause of
offence or complaint against you. It balances
matters somewhat.

Sir John was always telling himself how
generous he was to Veronica; how he
humoured her caprices ; what a dull,
wretched, miserable, poverty-stricken
existence it was he had taken her from ;
and so forth. And he compared the
flattering  graciousness of her manner in the
old days, with the languor or violence,
which made up the present time. And
then she teased him. She importuned him
for that which he was unable to grant ;
and he especially desired to avoid explaining
the reasons of his inability to grant it.
It really seemed hard. But now there had
arisen a real and important excuse for his
resentment, and lo ! he was inconsistent
enough not to welcome it ! On the contrary
it absolutely disturbed him very seriously.

Had he really cared more for this girl
than he had fancied? Was there a fibre
of tenderness yet lurking in that tough
heart? He, at least, began to think so, and
to pity himself with quite a soft sympathy.
But that which was sympathy for himself,
became very bitter antagonism to others.
After all, what had he to complain of?
He did not desire Veronica to be tenderly
trustful and confiding in her manner
towards him ! He had never longed for
a sad, appealing, questioning glance from her
large, dark eyes ! No : but he none the less
resented the bestowal of such a look on another.

He had flattered himself that Veronica
entertained a due contempt for a man so
poor as Barletti. If poverty were not
contemptible, why then what advantage did
he, Sir John Tallis Gale, possess over
Prince Cesare in the eyes of a young lady?

That was an unpleasant thought. It
came unwelcomed, and remained without
leave. It seemed to Sir John that unpleasant
thoughts increased and multiplied with
amazing fecundity. One produced another.

Then, after the first fallacious improvement
in his health, which had been wrought
by change of air, his bodily ailments
returned upon him. And amidst all these
troubles there was Veronica pursuing her
one aim, with the blind persistency of
desperation. It had never entered into her
head that Sir John could be nourishing any
feeling of jealousy towards Barletti.

It was not long before the latter followed
them to Naples, and he was received at
Sir John Gale's house there, on the same
familiar footing as he had held at Villa
Chiari. Sir John easily fell back into his old
habit of relying on Barletti for his evening's
amusement. And, besides, he had a hungry
curiosity to observe his behaviour with
Veronica. He lay on his sofa in a kind of
ambush, with his shaded lamp beside him,
watching the two, evening after evening,
and feeding high the fire of jealous hatred
within his own breast.

It required no great acumen to discover
that Barletti was becoming daily more
enthralled by Veronica. He would sit and
gaze at her like a man spell-bound ; and
the light gallantry, the high-flown compliments,
the conventional flattery, had all
disappeared from his speech and from his
manner. He was silent in her presence,
or if he spoke, it was seldom to her that
his words were addressed. He had grown
serious and almost sad : with the vague
sadness that belongs to all deep emotion,
and that no mere butterfly flirtation ever
awakens.

Veronica's feeling was less easy to read.

It was not, at all events, deep enough to
be self-forgetting. Sir John coming to his
evening watch with a certain preconceived
idea, interpreted many chance words and
looks into a corroboration of that idea. Yet
even Sir John's suspicion could not blind
him to the fact that, let Veronica regard
Barletti as she might, the prince was far
from being the all-engrossing object of her
life. He well knew what that object was.
But it infuriated him to think that she was
possibly urged on to pursue it by the hope
of one day sharing her success with Barletti.

Towards Sir John himself, Veronica
showed a gentleness and an assiduity that
were seldom interrupted. Sometimes,
however, it did happen that her temper, unused
to curb or discipline, broke forth into
violent reproaches and even threats, and
caused him much annoyance. But then,
when the burning anger had cooled a little
she would come to him again with a penitent,
tender, earnest pleading for forgiveness
which would have been infinitely
touching to an unbiassed witness.

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