Behind a Mask (Chapter 9, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 9

When the first excitement of Edward's return had subsided, and before
they could question him as to the cause of this unexpected visit, he
told them that after dinner their curiosity should be gratified, and
meantime he begged them to leave Miss Muir alone, for she had received
bad news and must not be disturbed. The family with difficulty
restrained their tongues and waited impatiently. Gerald confessed his
love for Jean and asked his brother's pardon for betraying his trust. He
had expected an outbreak, but Edward only looked at him with pitying
eyes, and said sadly, "You too! I have no reproaches to make, for I know
what you will suffer when the truth is known."

"What do you mean?" demanded Coventry.

"You will soon know, my poor Gerald, and we will comfort one another."

Nothing more could be drawn from Edward till dinner was over, the
servants gone, and all the family alone together. Then pale and grave,
but very self-possessed, for trouble had made a man of him, he produced
a packet of letters, and said, addressing himself to his brother, "Jean
Muir has deceived us all. I know her story; let me tell it before I read
her letters."

"Stop! I'll not listen to any false tales against her. The poor girl has
enemies who belie her!" cried Gerald, starting up.

"For the honor of the family, you must listen, and learn what fools she
has made of us. I can prove what I say, and convince you that she has
the art of a devil. Sit still ten minutes, then go, if you will."

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