Page:Marietta, or the Two Students.djvu/33

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glimmer of a light which was carried by the person approaching. He moved quickly, but softly, in an opposite direction, when fortunately his attention was arrested by a door standing ajar. It was on the same side of the passage as that which he had just left. He looked in: it was vacant. Entering, he closed and secured the door as best he could, and extinguished the light. Meanwhile the person from whose approach he had fled, stopped at the door he had just left, and in a cracked, angry voice demanded an entrance. Seating himself upon the floor, as near the partition which separated him from the individuals in the next room as possible, he heard the following conversation.

"Have you reflected on what I proposed to you to-day and yesterday," said the same unmusical voice which had so unceremoniously and peremptorily demanded admission, and which he knew to be that of a female somewhat advanced in years.

"Yes, I have," replied a subdued soft voice.

'Well: what is your decision? You have concluded of course like a reasonable girl to meet him here when convenient, or when it suits his wishes."

"On the contrary, I will not receive him at all. I told you so then, and so I tell you now.'"

"Won't receive him,"' screamed the old hag in a paroxism of rage. "Who are you talking to; do you know, you jilt! You will not! ha! but I say you shall."

"I tell you, woman," replied the girl, "that I never will accede to his proposals; so importune me no further on this subject, for you only waste words. You know that I receive the visits of only one person, and that I have always refused to see any one else, that fearful man much less. He is a savage, a monster. I would sooner share my couch with an Indian fresh from his native forest. You know my antipathy to him. I wish to hear no more on that hateful subject."

Here the anger of the old woman knew no bounds, and seizing the girl by the arm, she shook her violently.

"Impudent hussy—a very fine way you have of doing as you please—very nice words you make use of; I will teach you Miss, that you, are under my control while here. You won't admit him to your room, will you! won't indeed!

"Let me go, woman—release me—you have no authorty over me like this."

"You lie, jilt! I have as long as you remain in my house, and you will not leave it soon, madam, I assure you, so you may content yourself to submit to my will as soon as may be; do you hear, vixen?"

During this harangue she still retained her grasp on the arm of the girl, who groaned under the pain of the infliction.

"This is too much," she sobbed, wrenching her arm with a sudden effort from the hag. "I cannot submit to this usage; desist woman! desist! or I will call for help."

"Call for help and I will not leave the breath of life in your dainty little body," shrieked the virago, preparing to renew the attack.

"Do not harm me, I warn you," cried Cecil—it was she, "lay violent hands on me at your peril; and you shall repent with tears of blood."

"What do you mean by that, beautiful and chaste young lady," retorted the elder female, laughing in such a fiendish manner as made even Levator shudder. "A very conscientious and exemplary prostitute you are indeed. I can deal with you though."

"Do not strike me," said Cecil, still