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Two on a Tower

Chapter 23
Swithin could not sleep that night for thinking of his Viviette. Nothing told so
significantly of the conduct of her first husband towards the poor lady as the
abiding dread of him which was revealed in her by any sudden revival of his
image or memory. But for that consideration her almost childlike terror at
Swithin's inadvertent disguise would have been ludicrous.
He waited anxiously through several following days for an opportunity of seeing
her, but none was afforded. Her brother's presence in the house sufficiently
accounted for this. At length he ventured to write a note, requesting her to signal
to him in a way she had done once or twice before,--by pulling down a blind in a
particular window of the house, one of the few visible from the top of the Rings-
Hill column; this to be done on any evening when she could see him after dinner
on the terrace.
When he had levelled the glass at that window for five successive nights he
beheld the blind in the position suggested. Three hours later, quite in the dusk,
he repaired to the place of appointment.
'My brother is away this evening,' she explained, 'and that's why I can come out.
He is only gone for a few hours, nor is he likely to go for longer just yet. He keeps
himself a good deal in my company, which has made it unsafe for me to venture
near you.'
'Has he any suspicion?'
'None, apparently. But he rather depresses me.'
'How, Viviette?' Swithin feared, from her manner, that this was something
serious.
'I would rather not tell.'
'But-- Well, never mind.'
'Yes, Swithin, I will tell you. There should be no secrets between us. He urges
upon me the necessity of marrying, day after day.'
'For money and position, of course.'
'Yes. But I take no notice. I let him go on.'
'Really, this is sad!' said the young man. 'I must work harder than ever, or you will
never be able to own me.'
'O yes, in good time!' she cheeringly replied.
'I shall be very glad to have you always near me. I felt the gloom of our position
keenly when I was obliged to disappear that night, without assuring you it was
only I who stood there. Why were you so frightened at those old clothes I
borrowed?'
'Don't ask,--don't ask!' she said, burying her face on his shoulder. 'I don't want to
speak of that. There was something so ghastly and so uncanny in your putting on
such garments that I wish you had been more thoughtful, and had left them
alone.'
He assured her that he did not stop to consider whose they were. 'By the way,
they must be sent back,' he said.
 
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