MOLLY BAWN. 269
Tedcastle's teeth meet in his lip as he gazes spellbound.
A cold shiver runs through him, as when one learns that all
one's dearest, most cherished hopes are trampled in the
dust. A faint moisture stands on his brow. It is the
bitterness of death !
Presently a drop of blood trickling slowly down—the
sickly flavodT of it in his mouth—rouses him. Instinctively
he closes his eyes, as though, too late, to strive to shut out
the torturing sight, and, with a deep curse, he presses his
handkerchief to his lips and moves away as one suddenly
awakened from a ghastly dream.
In the doorway he meets Marcia—she too has been a
witness of the garden scene—and as he passes her she
glances up at him with a curious smile.
' If you wish to keep her you should look after her,' she
whispers, with white lips.
' If she needs looking after—I do not wish for her,' he
answers bitterly, and the next moment could kill himself, in
that he has been so far wanting in loyalty to his most dis¬
With his mind quite made up he waits through two
dances silently, almost motionless, with his back against a
friendly wall, hardly taking note of anything that is going
on around him, until such time as he can claim another
dance from Molly.
It comes at last; and, making his way through the
throng of dancers, he reaches the spot where, breathless,
smiling, she sits fanning herself, an adoring partner dropping
little honeyed phrases into her willing ear.
' This is our dance,' Luttrell says in a hard tone, stand¬
ing before her, with compressed lips and a pale face.
' Is it ?' With a glance at her card.
' Never mind your card. I know it is ours,' he says;
and, offering her his arm, leads her, not to the baU-room, but
on to a balcony, from Avhich the garden can be reached by
means of steps.
Before descending he says—always in the same uncom¬
promising tone :
' Are you cold ? Shall I fetch you a shawl ?'
And she answers :
' No, thank you. I think the night warm.' Being for