« 上一頁繼續 »
perfectly handsome and so strong. He seemed to possess some irresistible power, and she knew that few women would have strength to resist his subtle influence, but that he could almost compel them to
Jo forgot that she was living in the past among those who were long dead and gone, and longed to warn the little lady against the cruel tempter, and save her from impending ruin. Yet as she watched them she felt how useless it would be, how hopelessly they were becoming entangled in the meshes of a fate they could not avert. Indeed if Dorothy had had her life to live over again in this or any other age, what probability was there that the words of any other man or woman would weigh against the enchantments of this Mephistopheles ?
The Ball Room.
The last day of the old year was waning fast. Jo decided to sit up and welcome the new year, so sending Bridget off to bed in good time so as to be quite undisturbed, she tried to settle herself down to her writing, hoping to get a good bit done. But somehow her ideas would not flow. The belief that she was not alone overcame her more than ever, and once she heard a sound like the distant cry of a tiny baby. A general bustle and excitement seemed to pervade the house, and through the boisterous howling of the wind she kept hearing the plaintive wail of a violin. It was no good trying to work. Jo could sit still no longer, so taking her lamp she wandered about the house meeting invisible guests everywhere. Sometimes instinctively she would stand aside to let someone pass, the rustle of whose dress suggested gala attire. She thought she would like to go into the ball-room and look at the pictures of her nightly visitors. She unlocked the door and went in holding her lamp up high. But the feeble light of one small lamp in a room of such dimensions only enhanced the gloom and eeriness of it all, so she thought she would light some of the old wax candles and see the gallery as it had been in olden days.
Hardly had she come to this conclusion, when the whole place was suddenly lit up from end to end, and Bridget's words came back to her, when she said that the ball-room had never been lit up by mortal hand as long as she could remember. Now every wax candle in the massive old chandeliers was burning, lit by invisible hands. All around moved a brilliant company, among whom she recognised many of the pictures. One splendidly dressed group were dancing a minuet. Though she was in the midst of it all, only a far distant sound reached her ears, perhaps because it all came from so long ago; she seemed to feel more than to hear the sounds, because she could see all that was going
As she looked about she noticed Dorothy, no longer in the brown taffeta, but in the gorgeous white and gold of the picture, the ruby necklace at her throat flashing and sparkling as with hidden fire. She was standing talking earnestly to Philip when Geoffrey came up to claim her for a dance. An evil scowl crossed Philip's handsome face as the easy-going Geoffrey led his unwilling wife away, apparently unconscious of the trouble in her face or the hatred in his brother's look. Again Jo thought she heard the distant wail of a tiny baby, and she felt frightened and uneasy expecting some crisis, though to all appearances peace and jollity held their