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“Why, why,” laughed she, “misfortunes seem to have rendered you more reasonable, and to have softened your temper somewhat. It’s more than they have done for me. I don’t 佛山桑拿蒲友论坛 think that I ever had what you can call un c?ur sensible (a soft heart), but now I have none left at all. Give me money, jewels, an easy life, and I am easy enough to manage! A fig for sentiment! It’s all bosh!”
Frederick, shuddering at the vulgarity displayed by the woman who was still legally his wife, and fearing that his friends, missing him, might hunt him up and insist on being introduced to his companion, touched her lightly on the shoulder, saying:
“Come, Rose, let me take you home. It is impossible to talk quietly here, and I have much to say to you. This is no place for you.”
The woman shook his hand off, with a sneer.
“How very particular you have become! This place is decidedly more pleasant than the “violon” (cell at police station) or St. Lazarre. It is true that the society which one meets at the Jardin Mabille is slightly mixed, but by far not so much as in the two places I have just mentioned. Come home with me, if you like. It will show you what you have made of me—of me, the Countess von Waldberg. I wonder if your conscience ever troubles you. You have a good deal to answer for, my dear Frederick!”
Frederick having dispatched a waiter to fetch her wraps from the cloak-room, for she had been sitting all this time [Pg 81] with bared shoulders, offered her his arm and led her away. As they were stepping forth into the street, the young man felt a slight tap on his shoulder, and, turning quickly around, found himself face to face with one of his American friends, who laughingly exclaimed:
“I see you have met your fate, my dear Wolff; I congratulate you. Don’t forget that we have those two men to lunch at the hotel to-morrow.”
And with a parting “au revoir, baron,” he jumped into a fiacre, and in a loud, cheery tone of voice, bade the coachman drive home to the Hotel Kensington. A couple of minutes later, Frederick, who was greatly put out at thus having his alias and his residence made known to Rose, hailed a passing cab, and a quarter of an hour afterward arrived at her apartments in the Rue de Constantinople. They consisted of four rooms, the tawdry ornaments, greasy furniture, vulgar attempts at display and false elegance of which denoted that their tenant had sunk to the level of a third-rate cocotte.
Before Frederick left Rose that night he succeeded in exacting a promise from her that as long as he maintained her in luxury and gave her all the money she wanted, she would make no attempt to reveal his identity or to injure him in any way. He handed her a couple of thousand-franc bank-notes on his departure, and, promising to call on the following afternoon, strolled back to his hotel.
“She knows too much! She is dangerous! This will never do!” he muttered to himself, as he walked along under the arcades of the Rue de Rivoli.
He knew full well that as he was able to provide her with money, he would not have much to fear from her. She was far too careful of her own interests to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs by forcing him to take to flight. But, unfortunately, he was ever of a spendthrift disposition. His tastes, pleasures, and mode of life were extravagant; [Pg 82] gold escaped like water through his fingers, and he realized that as soon as the last penny of the money which he had abstracted from the murdered widow’s apartments at Baroda had been spent he would find himself powerless to silence Rose, whose revelations would inevitably result in a demand for his extradition on the part of the Anglo-Indian Government.
Several days went by. He had installed Rose in a very handsomely furnished apartment on the Avenue de l’Imperatrice, and had presented her with a carriage and pair, besides providing her with jewels and handsome dresses. It became noised abroad among the demi-monde that she had become the mistress of a wealthy Austrian named Baron Wolff, and both Frederick and Rose were careful to avoid any allusion to the real relationship which existed between them.
Rose found that by means of a few judicious taunts and threats she was able to get anything she wanted out of him. Of love between this curiously assorted couple there was none, and with each additional demand for money on her part the hatred and loathing with which he regarded her increased.
One evening, about a month after his meeting with Rose at the Jardin
Mabille, Frederick entered her drawing-room half an hour before dinner, carrying in his hand a large bouquet of gardenias and white lilac. It was her birthday, and after having duly congratulated her he handed her a blue velvet box, which she opened with a cry of delight. It contained a bracelet composed of superb sapphires which a few months previously had figured on the wrist of the murdered widow at Baroda. Kissing her hand with old-fashioned courtesy, Frederick clasped the jewel round Rose’s shapely arm, and then led her before one of the huge mirrors which gleamed here and there between the plush hangings of the luxuriously appointed room. They were indeed a [Pg 83] handsome couple as they stood there gazing at their reflections in the glass. Rose was now dressed in perfect taste, and her pale-blue satin dinner dress set off
her beauty to perfection. Suddenly she looked up at him with a mocking smile, and exclaimed, with a sneer:
“What a charming pair we are to be sure! No wonder we love each other so tenderly.”
They remained a long time at table that night, sipping their wine, and for a wonder chatting peacefully and pleasantly. Suddenly Rose jumped up and exclaimed:
“By the by, Frederick, I must show you a letter which I received to-day. There is a kind of East Indian nabob who is staying here at the Grand Hotel. He has seen me at the opera, and writes to make me the most dazzling proposals,” added she, cynically.
It was one of Rose’s chief delights to show her husband what she had now become; and without giving him time to say a word she ran lightly out of the room in quest of the letter.
Hardly had she disappeared behind the portiere which
hung before the door than Frederick, who had suddenly grown very pale, took from his waistcoat-pocket a small cut-glass bottle filled with a colorless and transparent fluid. Bending over the table, he dropped part of its contents in the half-finished glass of green chartreuse which stood in front of Rose’s plate. With an almost supernatural coolness he shook the mixture, so as to amalgamate it properly, and then sank back into his chair and lit a cigar, as if to give himself what the French call a “countenance.”
At this moment Rose reappeared, holding in her hand an open letter.
“Let me read this to you. It will show you that if you don’t behave I can do without you, sir,” she said.
“Nonsense, Rose! What pleasure can it afford you to be always teasing me? You are not half so bad as you try to [Pg 84] make yourself out to be. Here, let me drink your health again. That will be much more to the purpose!”
Rose laughed a harsh, unlovely laugh, and seizing hold of her glass clinked it against her husband’s and tossed the liquor down her throat with a “cranerie” which showed that she was not afraid of a stiff drink!
“What 南海黄岐桑拿 a peculiar taste this chartreuse has,” she said, as she threw herself back in her chair.
Frederick laughed rather uneasily.
“You swallowed it too quickly. It is a pity, for it is good stuff, and I prefer taking mine more quietly,” continued he, raising his own glass to his lips.
“I feel awfully jolly to-night,” exclaimed Rose, jumping up from her chair again and beginning to restlessly pace the floor. “We ought to go out. Why don’t you take me to some theater? Oh! it’s too late for that! Let us go to my boudoir and have some music; it will remind us of past times.”
She left the room, beckoning him to follow. He did so, but as soon as she rose from the table he quietly pocketed the glass from which she had been drinking. He found Rose in the act of opening all the windows in her boudoir. She was unusually flushed, and he 佛山夜生活地址 noticed that the pupils of her bright blue eyes were greatly contracted. This gave her so strange and wild a look that he started back as she turned toward him.
“How oppressively hot it is to-night, Frederick!” said she, in a muffled voice, and breathing heavily.
“Why, no; it is not warmer than usual. You must have been drinking too much, Rose. Compose yourself. Come here and lie down on the sofa, while I play you some of your favorite melodies.”
Saying this, he sat down at the piano and began to play at random, watching her intently all the time as she flitted about the room. At the end of a few minutes she flung [Pg 85] herself down on a lounge and closed her eyes. She breathed more heavily than before, and from time to time passed her hand across her forehead, which was bathed in cold perspiration.
All at once she opened 佛山桑拿技师招聘 her eyes again. They were now dilated as if by pain.
“Frederick,” she cried, in a low, oppressed kind of tone, “please come here. I am not feeling well. I wish you would give me a glass of water.”
He walked to a side table and brought her a large glass filled to the brim with iced water, which she drank eagerly.
“I am so sleepy,” murmured she, lying down again on the cushions.
Frederick sat down near her on the edge of the lounge, and watched her curiously. Her face had assumed a cadaverous aspect, and now and again she shuddered from head to foot. She appeared to be suffocating, and there was a bluish tint round her drawn mouth and sunken eyes. Frederick did not move. His face was nearly as white as that of his victim. But he made no attempt to help or to assist her. He cruelly, and in cold blood this time, allowed the 佛山夜生活 poison to take definite hold of her system, and his pitiless eyes remained fastened on her distorted face without once relenting.
Gradually her breathing became less and less audible, and a few moments later it had entirely ceased. Placing his hand to her bosom he convinced himself that the beating of the heart had stopped forever.
Then arising from the couch he calmly removed his picture from its place on the table, and then, loudly ringing the bell, he summoned the servants.
The violence of the peal brought two or three of them to the door. They found Baron Wolff apparently in a state of extreme excitement, trying with all his might to revive their mistress as she lay unconscious on the sofa.