She slowly recovered, and half opening her eyes - "where
am I?" murmured she faintly. "Here," exclaimed I, pressing her to my
bosom. "Here! close to the heart that adores you; in the arms of your
"Oh no! no! no!" shrieked she, starting into sudden life and
terror - "away! away! leave me! leave me!"
She tore herself from my arms; rushed to a corner of the saloon, and
covered her face with her hands, as if the very sight of me were
baleful. I was thunderstruck - I could not believe my senses. I followed
her, trembling, confounded. I endeavored to take her hand, but she
shrunk from my very touch with horror.
"Good heavens, Bianca," exclaimed I, "what is the meaning of this? Is
this my reception after so long an absence? Is this the love you
professed for me?"
At the mention of love, a shuddering ran through her. She turned to me
a face wild with anguish. "No more of that! no more of that!" gasped
she - "talk not to me of love - I - I - am married!"
I reeled as if I had received a mortal blow. A sickness struck to my
very heart. I caught at a window frame for support. For a moment or
two, everything was chaos around me. When I recovered, I beheld Bianca
lying on a sofa; her face buried in a pillow, and sobbing convulsively.
Indignation at her fickleness for a moment overpowered every other