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Prisoners Fast Bound In Misery And Iron   By: (1859-1925)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: "HER EYES TURNED TOWARDS IT MECHANICALLY BECAUSE IT CONTAINED ... THE MAN OF WHOM SHE WAS THINKING"]

PRISONERS

FAST BOUND IN MISERY AND IRON

By

MARY CHOLMONDELEY

Author of

"Red Pottage"

"But for failing of love on our part, therefore is all our travail."

JULIAN OF NORWICH.

DODD, MEAD & COMPANY NEW YORK MCMVI

Copyright, 1905, 1906, by

COLVER PUBLISHING COMPANY

Copyright, 1906, by

MARY CHOLMONDELEY

Published, September, 1906

To My Brother Reginald

ILLUSTRATIONS

"Her eyes turned towards it mechanically because it contained ... the man of whom she was thinking" Frontispiece

"A deathlike silence followed the delegato's words" Page 36

"'Is she worth it?' he said with sudden passion" " 46

"'You are all blinder one than the other, that it's Andrea I'm grieving for'" " 80

"If Fay had come in then he would have killed her, done her to death with the chains he had worn so patiently for her sake" " 146

"Fay noticed for the first time how lightly Wentworth walked, how square his shoulders were" " 184

CHAPTER I

Grim Fate was tender, contemplating you, And fairies brought their offerings at your birth; You take the rose leaf pathway as your due, Your rightful meed the choicest gifts of earth.

ARTHUR C. LEGGE.

Fay stood on her balcony, and looked over the ilexes of her villa at Frascati; out across the grey green of the Campagna to the little compressed city which goes by the great name of Rome.

How small it looked, what a huddled speck with a bubble dome, to be represented by so stupendous a name!

She gazed at it without seeing it. Her eyes turned towards it mechanically because it contained somewhere within its narrow precincts the man of whom she was thinking, of whom she was always thinking.

It was easy to see that Fay the Duchess of Colle Alto was an Englishwoman, in spite of her historic Italian name.

She had the look of perfect though not robust health, the reflection over her whole being of a childhood spent much in the open air. She was twenty three, but her sweet fair face, with its delicate irregular features, was immature, childish. It gave no impression of experience, or thought, or of having met life. She was obviously not of those who criticise or judge themselves. In how many faces we see the conflict, or the remains of conflict with a dual nature. Fay, as she was called by her family, seemed all of a piece with herself. Her unharassed countenance showed it, especially when, as at this moment, she looked harassed. Anxiety was evidently a foreign element. It sat ill upon her smooth face, as if it might slide off at any moment. Fay's violet eyes were her greatest charm. She looked at you with a deprecating, timid, limpid gaze, in which no guile existed, any more than steadfastness, any more than unselfishness, any more than courage.

Fay had come into the world anxious to please. She had never shown any particular wish to give pleasure. If she had been missed out of her somewhat oppressed and struggling home when she married, it is probable that the sense of her absence was tinged by relief.

She had never intended to marry the Duke of Colle Alto. It is difficult to say why that sedate distinguished personage married her.

Fay's face had a very sweet and endearing promise in it which drew men's eyes after her. I don't know what it meant, and they did not know either, but they instinctively lessened the distance between themselves and it. A very thin string will tow a very heavy body if there is no resistance, and the pace is slow. The duke looked at Fay, who was at that moment being taken out for her first season by her grandmother, Lady Bellairs. Fay tried to please him, as was her wont with all except men with beards. She liked to have him in attendance... Continue reading book >>




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