The Baronet's Bride (Chapter 4, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 4

Sir Jasper Kingsland stood moodily alone. He was in the library, standing by the window--that very window through which, one stormy night scarcely a month before, he had admitted Achmet the Astrologer. He stood there with a face of such dark gloom that all the brightness of the sunlit April day could not cast one enlivening gleam.

He stood there scowling darkly upon it all, so lost in his own somber thoughts that he did not hear the library door open, nor the soft rustle of a woman's dress as she halted on the threshold.

A fair and stately lady, with a proud, colorless face lighted up with pale-blue eyes, and with bands of pale flaxen hair pushed away under a dainty lace cap--a lady who looked scarce thirty, although almost ten years older, unmistakably handsome, unmistakably proud. It was Olivia, Lady Kingsland.

"Alone, Sir Jasper!" a musical voice said. "May I come in, or do you prefer solitude and your own thoughts?"

The sweet voice--soft and low, as a lady's voice should be--broke the somber spell that bound him. He wheeled round, his dark, moody face lighting up at sight of her, as all the glorious morning sunshine never could have lighted it. That one radiant look would have told you how he loved his wife.

"You, Olivia?" he cried, advancing. "Surely this is a surprise! My dearest, is it quite prudent in you to leave your room?"

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