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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAlice, Or The Mysteries - Book 9 - Chapter 4
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Alice, Or The Mysteries - Book 9 - Chapter 4 Post by :imported_n/a Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :3100

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Alice, Or The Mysteries - Book 9 - Chapter 4

BOOK IX CHAPTER IV

PITY me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.--_Hamlet_.


LETTER FROM ERNEST MALTRAVERS TO EVELYN CAMERON.


EVELYN!

All that you have read of faithlessness and perfidy will seem tame to you when compared with that conduct which you are doomed to meet from me. We must part, and for ever. We have seen each other for the last time. It is bootless even to ask the cause. Believe that I am fickle, false, heartless,--that a whim has changed me, if you will. My resolve is unalterable. We meet no more even as friends. I do not ask you either to forgive or to remember me. Look on me as one wholly unworthy even of resentment! Do not think that I write this in madness or in fever or excitement. Judge me not by my seeming illness this morning. I invent no excuse, no extenuation, for my broken faith and perjured vows. Calmly, coldly, and deliberately I write; and thus writing, I renounce your love.

This language is wanton cruelty,--it is fiendish insult,--is it not, Evelyn? Am I not a villain? Are you not grateful for your escape? Do you not look on the past with a shudder at the precipice on which you stood?

I have done with this subject,--I turn to another. We are parted, Evelyn, and forever. Do not fancy,--I repeat, do not fancy that there is any error, any strange infatuation on my mind, that there is any possibility that the sentence can be annulled. It were almost easier to call the dead from the grave than bring us again together, as we were and as we hoped to be. Now that you are convinced of that truth, learn, as soon as you have recovered the first shock of knowing how much wickedness there is on earth,--learn to turn to the future for happier and more suitable ties than those you could have formed with me. You are very young; in youth our first impressions are lively but evanescent,--you will wonder hereafter at having fancied you loved me. Another and a fairer image will replace mine. This is what I desire and pray for. _As soon as I learn that you love another, that you are wedded to another, I will re-appear in the world; till then, I am a wanderer and an exile. Your hand alone can efface from my brow the brand of Cain! When I am gone, Lord Vargrave will probably renew his suit. I would rather you married one of your own years,--one whom you could love fondly, one who would chase away every remembrance of the wretch who now forsakes you. But perhaps I have mistaken Lord Vargrave's character; perhaps he may be worthier of you than I deemed (_I who set up for the censor of other men!); perhaps he may both win and deserve your affection.

Evelyn, farewell! God, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, will watch over you!

ERNEST MALTRAVERS.

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BOOK IX CHAPTER III... MISERY That gathers force each moment as it rolls, And must, at last, o'erwhelm me.--LILLO: _Fatal Curiosity_.MALTRAVERS found Evelyn alone; she turned towards him with her usual sweet smile of welcome; but the smile vanished at once, as her eyes met his changed and working countenance; cold drops stood upon the rigid and marble brow, the lips writhed as if in bodily torture, the muscles of the face had fallen, and there was a wildness which appalled her in the fixed and feverish brightness of the eyes. "You are ill, Ernest,--dear Ernest, you are ill,--your
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