"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."
He turned on his heel, and went away.
As for Mr. Carden, he declined to admit that Little was dead, and said his conduct was unpardonable, and, indeed, so nearly resembled madness, that, considering the young man's father had committed suicide, he was determined never to admit him into his house again-- at all events as a suitor to Grace.
Mr. Coventry had now taken spacious apartments, and furnished them. He resumed his visits to the club. Mr. Carden met him there, and spoke more confidentially to him than he did to his daughter, and admitted he had grave doubts, but said he was a director of the Gosshawk, and would never, either in public or private, allow that Little was dead unless his body should be found and properly identified.