the return to consciousness much more painful than the
Coventry was much agitated, and could not speak for some time, and when he did, it was in a faint voice as of one exhausted by a mental struggle. "Would you rather he was--dead--or--false?"
"Oh false--a thousand times! Prove to me he is not dead, but only false to his poor Grace, and I will bless you on my knees."
Coventry's eye flashed. "Well, then, he was the lover of Jael Dence, the girl who fought for him, and shed her blood for him, and saved his life. The connection was open and notorious."
"Many a man has fled from two women, who could have been happy with either of them. I believe that this man found himself unable to play the double game any longer, and that he has fled the country--"
"I pray God it may be so," sobbed Grace.
"--Through remorse, or from dread of exposure. Have patience. Do not kill yourself, and break all our hearts. Take my word for it, you will hear from him in a few days, and he will give your reasons for his strange disappearance--excellent, business-like reasons, but not the true ones: there will not be a word about Jael Dence." This last with a sneer.
Grace turned on him with eyes that literally gleamed: "You hated him living, you slander him dead. Falsehood was not in him: his affection for Jael Dence was no secret. I knew it, and approved it. It was as pure as heaven. His poor mutilated body will soon contradict these vile calumnies. I hate you! I hate you!"
Coventry drew back at first from this burst of ire, but soon he met her glance with one of fiendish bitterness. "You hate me for pitying you, and saying that man is not dead. Well, have your own way, then; he is not false, but dead."