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suggestion of headache passed away, leaving Vera strong and vigorous again. It was impossible to sit there without speaking. "Do you quite understand what you are doing?" she said to the man opposite. "Do you realise that you are guilty of a criminal offence? You could be prosecuted for this." "I will not contradict you," Silva said politely. "Believe me, I deeply regret the necessity for taking this step. Yet it was impossible to satis

fy our requirements in any other way." "Oh, you are not alone, then?" Vera asked. "Would it be inquiring too much if I asked who else is in this business?" Silva smiled under cover of the darkness. A man of courage himself, he admired that quality in others. So the child that he had known, and been so passionately attached to, eighteen years ago had grown up to be a worthy representative of her race? Vera would have been astonished at t

hat moment if she could have seen into the back of Silva's brain. She did not realise for a moment that here was a man who would have gone through fire and water for her, and yet, at the same time, he was prepared to wreak his insane vengeance upon those whom she loved and admired more than anybody in the world. If Vera's happiness had depended upon it, Silva would not have spared Ravenspur, even had Vera gone on her knees and asked for it. Y

et he would have given his life if it could have done any good to this proud descendant of the house of Descarti. "Surely you can guess who is with me in this business?" he said. "Did I not bring you a letter from your mother?" Vera started. She had forgotten her mother for the moment, and this question of Silva's had opened up a new and painful train of thought. He was taking her to see her mother. But why had her mother so suddenly displayed this tender solicitude, after leaving her absolutely alone all these years? That Vera's mother was in possession of her whereabouts, and had been all this time, the girl did not doubt. When part of the story had to be told she had accepted Ravenspur's statement implicitly. Her mother was a vile woman, and the past was too painful for a young girl to hear. Ravenspur had not said so in as many words, but that was distinctly the impression he had conveyed to Vera. She began dimly to comprehend now why this new-born affection of her mother's had not found vent in the conventional way. Doubtless Ravenspur would have forbidden her the house. Doubtless he had a hold that gave him the control



of the situation--probably a compact made years ago. And now one of the parties desired to break it. Perhaps it was a question of money, or family property, or something of that kind? Vera had heard of similar cases. At any rate, there must be some reason for this mystery and violence. And no doubt every word that Ravenspur had said about her mother's character was true. Otherwise she could not have consented to an abduction like this. Still, there was comfort in the reflection that Lord Ravenspur and Walter would leave no stone unturned to punish this outrage. The miscreants would be found out sooner or later. Vera congratulated herself now upon the fact that she had left her handkerchief tied to the collar of the do

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