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Little Tongues of Fire

The Duke of Quarrington is concerned enough about his profligate brother in

order to welcome the suggestion of his marrying Miss Vina Wallace for her
fortune. However, once he meets Vina, he wonders how she'll manage with him.
"If Miss. Wallace is ready to sell for a title, should be so irresponsible
and my brother, who is getting married! "she thought with contempt the haughty
Duke Alveric of Quarrington.
However, to meet her, he was astonished to see that, unlike the provincial
expected to find that awkward, Vina was not only beautiful but smart, sweet,
And it did start thinking that maybe it would be extremely unhappy to
hand of Lord Edgar, his profligate brother!
Vina was afraid and needed lots of love and protection ...

- Never! I will never marry! Quary said Lord Edgar,
Rising from a jump, he went to the window. For a moment silence reigned,
to the Duke observed:
- So the alternative you have left is nothing attractive.
- And what is the alternative?
- If you do not marry, as I suggested, the only thing that will do for you
will pay your bills by
last and final time; this, as I told you before, provided you go to live
the country. Will have a thousand pounds a year, provided they never return to
There was silence. There seemed to be a vibration between the two
- It is clear that its proposal is absurd! It is intolerable! You know very
well! replied Lord

- So I advise you to marry Miss. Wallace, who just inherited a fortune
Over one million pounds ... It's a fantastic story if you're interested ...
Noting that his brother seemed willing to listen, Duke
- The girl's father, Colonel Wallace served as a soldier in India for twenty
years. Before
being killed in the northwest frontier, saved the life of the Maharaja of
Knowing that he could not escape the narrative, Lord Edgar turned and so
sat on the couch near the window.
The Duke continued:
- About four months ago the Maharaja died, bequeathing
Colonel Wallace part of his immense fortune and some priceless jewels. Once
Colonel killed, the heiress was Miss. Wallace.
Lord Edgar started getting interested, and his brother observed, in a voice
dry and ironic:
- Surely you will take some time to squander all that fortune!
For a moment, an angry expression appeared on her pretty face of Lord Edgar.
He closed
fists, as if to attack his brother, however, said sarcastically:
- You wove it well, no, Alveric? I thought, with his extraordinary sense of
appreciation to the family line, stay resentful of stain it, linking it to
these commoners
Despite the way rude, insulting to the brother, the Duke's expression did not
He kept the same expression of contempt in the gray eyes, since brother
London for that interview unpleasant for both. His expression seemed skeptical
become more pronounced when he added:
- If you really care about it, you'll be pleased to know that Wallace belong
to a
ancient Scottish family, whose men, generation after generation, achieved high
honors in
- I suppose I should be very happy for that! Lord Edgar noted the same
The Duke continued:

- General Sir Alexander Wallace received several medals for bravery in combat,
respected in his regiment and is quite revered in his country.
- He wants my title for the niece, or is Miss. Wallace's ambition to join his
of a duke? asked Lord Edgar.
- I think the idea is gone the second wife of General. She is much younger
her husband, and I'm sure you'll find a great advantage for all connection
with the duchy of Quarrington.
Lord Edgar gave a nasty laugh.
- Therefore, to gain its position in the highest society, are willing to
black sheep of the family, namely me!
The Duke rose and stood with his back to the fireplace. He was a man of
beautiful appearance, high
and with a slightly skeptical that did not compromise its image, unlike Lord
Edgar, three years younger and several inches shorter than his brother, and
very beautiful
also, though somewhat hampered by the expression of debauched man who began to
show in his face.
The life he led in London had become the least athletic, rpor so while your
increased, decreased their natural elegance.
The Quarry family was famous for its beautiful men, and the ambitious mothers
were trying to
years to take the head of the family for their daughters faces.
The Duke had long ago decided not to marry, and at thirty-four years was
sufficiently skilled to evade countless traps and baits of all kinds that
prepared to catch it.
As head of one of the most respected families of the kingdom, was very aware
of their
responsibilities. He had fought for years in an attempt to force the younger
brother to curb
their extravagance and refrain from further aggravate their bad reputation.
But Lord Edgar was deaf to any warning. He led a dissolute life of
unbridled lust, sponsoring festivals that were the delight of the parasites
and bohemians of
London. Addicted to betting on horse races, losing astronomical amounts.
His behavior was cause for amusement and speculation in the clubs of St.

When the Duke faced the accounts of his brother, saw that it would be
impossible to continue
funding such wastefulness and repeatedly had said:
- I am responsible not only for you, Edgar, but also by all members of our
- As you enjoy it! Lord Edgar redarguia sarcastically.
- It is not pleasant to see our homes so bad, our schools needing
more teachers, our vicars complaining about their fees, our relatives
rationing everything I finance you!
The moment seemed to hear Lord Edgar said, as at other times:
- By God, Alveric! You talk as if I had squandered his last penny! You know
than me who is rich and has precious treasures in each of its properties.
- Treasures entrusted to me, but belong to the generations that come after me.
- Worried about a child who does not?
The duke did not deign to respond, before the attitude of mocking his brother.
Did you know that Edgar
was fully aware that the works of art, paintings and would be transmitted
by inheritance to his successors, as it were legacies.
Once you have paid thousands and thousands of pounds to creditors of his
brother, the Duke decided
end such dissipation once and for all. The opportunity had come from
most unexpected way.
To the great surprise of the duke, General Sir Alexander Wallace and his wife
were visiting
it a day after he returned from London.
By being aware of the presence of visitors, the Duke naturally agreed to
receive them,
in spite of Sir Wallace found only twice in formal occasions.
The Wallace used to be included in the dinner party that the Duke offered,
nor were they asked for more intimate meetings, which occurred frequently in
his ancestral home.
However, the Duke thought that they were included in the outdoor parties held
annually in parks and gardens of Quarrington, keeping the tradition left by
his father
and, before that, his grandfather.
These parties used to assemble on the lawns a huge tent beautifully
ornamented. At the sound of music performed by the band, the guests strolled

merrily around the many terraces, admiring the gardens and the mirrors of
water with
aquatic plants. Some were bowling outdoors, in the special courts
this sport. Others preferred to spend hours practicing archery, because there
equipment and archery targets available to anyone who would use them.
The Duke courteously greeted his guests, strolling through the crowd and
talking to each person, even if sometimes not too
some of their names, not previously known to have already found them.
When Lady Wallace and General were transferred to the living room, the Duke
thought that
perhaps they had been requesting a donation to charity, in which
Perhaps he was not yet engaged.
There were lots of them. His secretary had a list of all for which he
contributed generously every year.
When you shake hands with the General, noted that he appeared and his age and
showed slightly embarrassed. His second wife, by contrast, seemed far
will, giving him admiring glances and flirting with him, who was familiar with
type of game for women.
When they sat down, the Duke offered refreshments to visitors, which they
After an awkward silence, the general cleared his throat and began:
- Your Highness must be a bit surprised by this visit, and I imagine it will
be more
still surprised to hear what we say.
The Duke nodded, aware. The general continued:
I have heard from various sources that I should not reveal that his brother,
Lord Edgar, is in
financial difficulties.
The duke was astonished. He resented any person
out to speak about a subject he considered of the strictly
family. So thought it was possible that his brother, shortsighted,
estivessse owed money to the general. He continued:
I heard that Lord Edgar is considering disposing of his paintings of horses
family, who put on sale at Christie's.
The lips of the Duke is compressed. He thought, furious that Edgar knew very

well that
could never sell the paintings that belonged to the family collection, which
were found in
his house in London, only borrowed.
The general had stopped talking and the Duke said in a voice deliberately
haughty and cold:
- You, general, is obviously much better informed than I about my
brother, but of course we will take steps to know if what I said is accurate.
- Your Highness will find that not wrong. However, my wife has the solution
problems of Lord Edgar.
The Duke raised his eyebrows. Then, as if it was difficult to remain silent
for one more second, Lady Wallace said:
- I find it sad so nice a person as Lord Edgar to be in a situation so
My friend Lady Farrington, whom your highness must know, told me that is
really upset the poor young man, who does not know where the next penny.
It was with great difficulty that the duke repressed the urge to say to Lady
she'd better worry about his own life.
However, only four months earlier he had paid his brother's debts amounting to
thirty thousand pounds! At that time, Edgar had sworn by all that was most
that henceforth it would be more cautious.
- What my husband and I would suggest continued Lady Wallace would not help
only to Your Highness, but would also be very good for us.
The Duke looked at her, puzzled, and she continued:
- I suppose that your Highness has heard references to my brother, Colonel
Wallace, who was decorated for bravery when he was in the service of the Crown
in India
and died in the northwest frontier.
- Yes of course I've heard about him the duke replied politely.
- Well kept Lady Wallace, my brother-in one of the many conflicts that always
existed in India, saved the life of the Maharaja of Kulhapur. At the time we
knew nothing, but there
about three months, the Maharaja passed away ...
The Duke was wondering what it all had to do with him or Edgar, but
forced to look interested.

- Your Highness can imagine our astonishment when we went Lady Wallace
Vina told that, my husband's niece, now in our custody, had inherited
a fabulous sum of money! It was hard to believe that we were not dreaming!
Lady Wallace paused, and the general explained:
- The Maharaja, one of the richest men in India, my brother left for well over
million pounds, and magnificent jewels, which seem to have come from Aladdin's
- Surely you are to be congratulated!
- So we thought lady said Wallace, a little nervous to offer the hand of
our beautiful ward, Vina, to Lord Edgar. That is, if Your Highness agrees, of
The Duke stared, astonished, to Lady Wallace, as if he had not heard right.
Then broke the silence, which had become embarrassing:
- Are you suggesting ...?
- Your Highness must agree interrupted Lady Wallace that would save us
hassles with caadotes certainly chase Vina, since its
immense fortune is already known. Moreover, Lord Edgar no longer need to worry
to have recourse to His Highness.
Lady Wallace made it clear as water that frequent appeals for money by the
brother of the Duke did not pass unnoticed in the county at all. It was
who knew it in London, where gossip flew on the wings of the wind, but he
never suspected that this issue would also be subject to review residents'
the neighborhood.
Alveric considered that the proposal of Wallace could even be the solution
to the constant financial difficulties of Edgar.
- His niece has met with my brother? he asked the general.
- No! Of course not! Vina was in mourning until earlier this year! Lady
Wallace hastened
to answer for her husband. Alexander and I are planning to take her to London
next month. We will prepare it for presentation to the court at Buckingham
We are even thinking about allowing us the luxury to offer you a small ball.
She glanced at the general after talking, which meant that the duke had
sure she was looking forward to a dance or any other
fun that could happen in London. Undoubtedly the fond, perhaps
more than the own niece.
- How old is your niece? asked the Duke.

- Eighteen years.
- And you consider it a good wife to a man who will make thirty in July?
- I believe, Your Highness, that any girl would be happy if I could marry a
member of your
Lady Wallace family said.
That was the crux of the matter. All the relatives of the Duke had married
persons of the most respected families in the country. Evidently the Wallace
wanted to see
niece joined the Quarry, as the fact to become persona grata within so
family would rise into high society.
For a moment the duke had urge to say that the name
the Quarry was not for sale and that Wallace would take all their money to
any other party! However, on reflection, concluded that it would not be the
solution to
Edgar. Instead, perhaps the marriage with the heiress could not be his
If Edgar had a good wife, would have a chance to behave better than before.
But it was almost like betting on chance.
The Duke still remembering; thought the fabulous amount spent on calls
"Soiled doves", actresses and ballet dancers, and the jewels in which all
women were fascinated, and they obtained easily from Edgar.
Alveric was furious just thinking about how one man could squander so
money in so little time!
He knew that the only reason Edgar had not yet returned to beg a more
Since saldasse debts was the fact Alveric have made a terrible scene four
Both he and his brother wanted to avoid a repeat of that scene for as long
Who knows, perhaps, the proposal of Wallace was not absurd ... After all, it
would be better than
continue making personal savings, as happened last Christmas, when Edgar
demanded the thirty thousand pounds, which flowed like water in his hands.
- What can I say the lady said the duke, is that Wallace would like to think
about what
proposed, and, of course, discuss it with my brother. For now I just want
thank you both for the suggestion. Maybe they can give an answer in a future

The Duke rose. Had no choice but to Wallace also arise.

Thanking you again for coming, the duke accompanied them to the door of
The carriage of visitors waiting for them. Once they have taken some steps,
Lady Wallace
turned to a brief nod of the hand, which forced the Duke to smile.
When he entered his office, was so angry that he had urge to punch
someone, preferably Edgar. How was it possible to believe that he was stuck
in the same mess we already had got at least half a dozen times in less than
Another man could no cursing loudly in his fury, or help yourself to a drink
strong. There were many on the table-bar in the corner.
Instead, the Duke walked to the window and stared out, without noticing the
lovely garden and the first flowers of spring, which began to blossom.
He was thinking of how he had tried to take good care of Edgar, even before
parents die. He was convinced, however, that failed in its attempt to do so
behave according to the standards considered normal and correct.
Edgar always mocked everything that was respectable and detested people who
showed only kind because of the importance of the Quarry.
Soon he became leader of a group of young fornicators, drunks and bad
educated, whose bad reputation echoed not only in London but also in the
This gang led by Edgar, after much drinking, used to invade their clubs
Favourite night and there happening nearly every night practicing disorders.
The band also organized steeplechase races, where many of the participants
ended up suffering injuries due to drunk.
The worst was that the Duke had already been reprimanded by the queen, for
allowing his brother to commit
those excesses.
"What can I do? Where I failed?" He asked hundreds of times without finding
Once his anger was gradually easing, he said to himself that it had reached
opportunity to resolve the problem. If Miss. Vina Wallace was ready to sell
for a title, should be so irresponsible that a young man was up to the
excesses of

The Duke thought some more, and then rang the bell, calling his secretary.
John Simpson had served with the Royal Guard Mounted Duke. When inherited the
Duke, Alveric left the service and had asked Simpson to serve as his
or, as they used to say in royal circles as superintendent because he
Simpson a man of greater capacity.
As Simpson did not have the means to stay in the Royal Guard Mounted, despite
his father had served her, grabbed up to that opportunity, not only cherish
and admire the
Duke, but also face the job as the solution to their concerns
He assumed the direction of Quarrington, replacing a very old man now, and
almost perfection.
For being a gentleman, the old servants who have served for many years the
liked him and not resented innovation methods that he would skillfully
suggested, and against whom would have fought it from someone else's less
John Simpson, now bordering on forty, entered the room, and the Duke said:
- General Wallace and his wife came to visit me.
- I was sure would come, Your Highness.
- You will not believe why they came!
There was a glint of mischief in his eyes when he said John Simpson:
- I think, sire, it is something related to Lord Edgar. The Duke sat up
- But it's amazing! How do you know that?
- Even the bees take news from flower to flower in this county! And I hear
there are two
weeks, that Miss. Vina Wallace had inherited a fortune!
- So you knew they would suggest that she married Lord Edgar?
- Lady Wallace has always been extremely ambitious to frequent the same
social Your Highness!
The Duke could not help laughing.
- I can not believe it, John! You knew all this! Why did not you say?
- I had not thought about it until you know that the general and Lady Wallace
had been here.

So I convinced myself that are really daring to have had the courage to
look it up.
- But you know what was their intent?
- I heard the matter by mutual friends two weeks ago. Then, knowing the
ambition of Lady Wallace, Lord Edgar had assumed in his sights.
- And he made ready this time?
- He lost a large sum in racetracks, and also took under his protection
Young's most expensive Olympic Theatre. His chariots, horses and jewelry are
envy of any rival.
The Duke remained silent for a while, then said:
- If Edgar wants to live like a maharaja, who spends the money of a maharaja!
It is very fair and
inspiring! Tell her, John, I want to talk to him.
At the moment, looking at his brother, the Duke thought that with his good
looks, Edgar
would make any woman will forgive all sins. But to be honest, I knew
Miss you. Wallace needed a steely determination and complete insensitivity to
live with someone so wasteful.
Guessing what was going through the mind of his brother, Lord Edgar said:
- I guess this is something I have to accept, but will also better to give me
house where I can leave this hateful woman, while I have fun in London!
- If she has some sense, latch your money, limiting the amount that you can
spend replied the duke.
- In this case I do not marry!
I have pointed out that you have no choice.
- Okay! Do not make things even more difficult! Lord Edgar said, angrily. If
it is my
way she wants, is this what will! But I do not sujeitarei as a high school in
order to
earn some money. I want the whole fortune!
- This, of course, is who you decide! And I guess the first step is invite
for a weekend in order that meets Miss. Vina. Then she will happy
jeweled, those famous, part of the business!
Given the tone of undisguised disdain of his brother, Lord Edgar said,
- I see no reason for such reluctance, Alveric. At least you were not hooked!
- That is true, if you want to express themselves this way vulgar.

- Well, let's end this charade and get down to business. There are one or two
must be paid immediately! I believe you will not mind me forward each
five thousand pounds, no?
- Nothing doing! Duke said firmly.
- Very good! So, the sooner the marriage occurs, the better! That house you
will give me?
The duke was pensively, then said:
- The mansion of the field.
- Is that right! At least that is large enough to accommodate my friends, also
we can always come here.
- Will I receive gladly your guests, provided they are approved by his wife.
- Maybe you'd like to find Connie mocked Lord Edgar.
- If Connie is a woman who got you into this mess, I hope that common sense
decency to give it up!
- Fold it? Do you think I was crazy? Connie is a woman more sensational, more
more exotic and charming I have ever met! Uaranto you that if it is expensive,
twice every penny spent!
- I only hope that his future wife thinks the same way said the Duke coldly,
heading for the door. As I do not want to look like you are rushed
others to put their hands in rupees of the Maharaja, I suggest inviting
Wallace to stay
here from Friday to Monday. Invite a few of my most respected friends
to find them.
He emphasized the word "respectable", provoking mocking laughter of Lord
- In this case, it will be incredibly boring! And the second very early return
to Connie!
The Duke would reply, however, thought it not worth it.
Instead, he left the room, closing the door quietly.
While walking down the aisle, I was sure Edgar laughed alone.
The steward has submitted a letter to Lady Wallace, and so she took the salute
silver, said:
- Who sent, Barlow?
- Has just been delivered, my lady, a servant of Quarrington.
Lady Wallace was startled and, briefly, a spark of fire shone in his eyes.

With the envelope in his hand, it was open on the desk. After reading its
Carefully, he ran for office, where her husband was reading the Morning Post.
At the outbreak
the room, exclaimed:
- He agreed, Alexander! He agreed!
- You are talking about the Duke?
- Of course! He agreed with our suggestion, and is inviting us to go to
Quarrington next Friday! she gave a little cry of joy. I can not believe!
Oh, Alexander, we can now go to the house often wonderful and, of course,
also find the friends of the duke.
- I'm surprised by the fact that Duke has agreed the general said slowly.
Actually, I was sure
he categorically refuse, without explanation.
- I told you that Lord Edgar was desperate! Edith told me that her husband
knew he should fifty thousand pounds!
- Young and stupid fool! Why squander the money they do not have?
- For now have! And Vina will Quary lady! Will appear in court circles, and
rest assured that we will be invited for all the great families who were
twisting the
nose at us today!
The general was no longer listening. Concentrated on reading the newspaper and
did not pay
attention to the wife, who reread the invitation of the Duke, admiring
aristocratic calligraphy.
- I'm sure she said that when we are in London, sooner or later
will be invited to Devonshire House.
Her voice had a note of perplexity, and the general suddenly realized that his
was still talking. Looking over the paper, said:
- Have you told Vina?
- Tell me what?
- That she will marry Edgar Lord!
- Of course not! I do not want to tell you that the fact is finished! She is a
very lucky!
- It would be best to approach the subject slowly. So who is going to marry
her, not you!
- Really, you're saying the most ridiculous things, Alexander! The young, as

're tired of knowing, who marry their guardians choose. I just hope that in
thank for the problems we solve for it.
There was a whining note in his voice, as to imagine that he would not be so
grateful as expected. So she asked her husband:
- You tell her, or I should say?
- How was your idea, I think it would be better from you. I confess that I am
surprised by the response
Quary, because I know he is very aware of their own importance!
- Of course he agreed! What else could he do?
How not want to be involved in a discussion, the general returned to his
while Lady Wallace looked again to the letter of the Duke and left the office,
heading for the hall.
The steward was setting the whips who were riding on a
table under the stairs, and Lady Wallace asked him:
- Do you know where Miss. Vina?
- You are in the library, milady.
- I should have guessed! Lady Wallace said bluntly.
The library was a somewhat dark room in which she seldom entered and General.
There was a lot of books arranged on shelves, most of whom had
belonged to the father general.
Lady Wallace had no time for reading, except, of course, the Journal and
columns on the court contained in the papers.
For it was a great surprise that the niece of her husband feel very happy
to sit reading for hours.
It seemed even stranger to note that Vina had spent a substantial amount in
Lady Wallace found her sitting by the window, bent over a book, looking
engrossed in reading, in a posture that the aunt was not considered
- Vina! she exclaimed.
The niece, who had not noticed the presence of her aunt, looked at her with a
- You need me, Aunt Marjory?
- I can not imagine what it is doing here, when you could be out there in the

so lovely this morning.
- I've been riding before breakfast, and was wondering if Uncle Alexander does
not like to do
the same with me, then
- Ask him, Lady Wallace said vaguely. Now, Vina, I have something to tell, and
I know
you will find it very exciting!
The large eyes stared dutifully Vina's aunt's face. However, Lady Wallace
bet she still thought the book had been reading.
- Listen, Vina, we were all invited by the Duke of Quarrington to spend there
next weekend!
She waited for an exclamation of joy, but Vina just looked at her, asking,
a voice that seemed to surprise:
- I have been presented to the Duke?
- No! Of course not! You certainly remember him if you had seen. Is a man
of great beauty and very important!
- You should be very glad to have invited him in, right? Vina said,
probing why the invitation.
- Of course! I'm really looking radiant on the possibility of hospedarmos in
Quarrington! It
one of the most magnificent homes of England. It will be a great privilege!
should be happy too!
- So I will like to see it! I hope that also has a great library!
- I am sure that lady is huge Wallace said vaguely. But what is really
is that you will meet with the duke's brother, Lord Edgar Quary!
Vina waited, knowing that there would be more explanations about it, and Lady
I am absolutely certain that Edgar will be attracted to you and you for him.
It is very
pleasant, and very beautiful!
- What does it do? Vina said.
- What do you do? What do you mean?
- I wonder if a soldier or member of Parliament, or ...
- He is neither one nor the other! Lady Wallace replied.

The Duke was a soldier for a few years, but not everyone is like his father or
his uncle,
always wanting to give orders to the people, or kill him!
- I'm sure Dad would never kill anyone, unless you strike him first Vina
hastened to say.
- I'm not worried about his father at the time. We are talking about Lord
I want it very attractive to him. And, of course, that is very helpful for
with the duke, who is the head of the family.
- They are important to Uncle Alexander?
- Yes, of course they are, and equally important to you.
- For me?
The surprise that was perceived in the voice of Vina made Lady Wallace
hesitant to
say anything more.
- Vina Far better to meet with Lord Edgar without embarrassment or
shyness. And that inevitably occur if the girl knew her uncles planned
marriage to a man she had never seen before. Then he said with a smile:
- What do we do now, Vina, is to provide the most wonderful clothes! We need
get very, very smart to go to Quarrington! We should not look flashy,
nor simple peasant!
- What an exaggeration! You never seem so, Aunt Marjory! said Vina with a
- And you should also be more beautiful than ever! So we'll fugidinha
to London tomorrow morning, shopping in Bond Street.
Vina closed the book and put it away, thinking that here was something that
was Aunt Marjory
really delighted: shopping.
For her, however, nothing could be more boring, unless such a little way and
could go to a bookstore. Being very perceptive and by the way his aunt, Vina
that this visit was very important, and was willing to not disappoint her.
- I will make all the preparations continued Lady Wallace, and if we leave
tomorrow early, about
noon we will be in London.
- Okay, Aunt Marjory.
Vina noted that the aunt looked at her strangely, but then thought he was

"Clothes, clothes and more clothes! Ah, Dad, if only you were here, like
would be different! "
Vina had a sudden longing for India, the heat, slow and quiet of
created bare, the rotation of the suspended punkahs vented to the atmosphere
and, outside,
the creaking of the turbines. But it would be rude of you to tell the
uncles, who had been so good to her and she felt cold and gray England.
I thought the gentleman who always visited his father in India, at the time
him after his mother's death. I also loved the lessons received from an Indian
retiree who had studied in England and was graduated from Cambridge
There was much to learn, much to hear and to feel so much more.
For a moment he felt ungrateful, but concluded that the transition from one
life to another
was totally different reason enough to make you feel lost and lonely.
There was one person who could talk as he did with his father and
his friends in India.
"Why he had to die so soon, Dad?" Sorry from the heart. "Why did I
left alone? "
In response, she felt that her father was smiling and his eyes sparkled as
both were involved in an issue that kept speaking enthusiastically of the
beginning to end the conversation.
"Actually, I would never be alone!"
This comforting thought infused him renewed strength. Could open up with his
father and
know that he had at his side.
The Duke had planned the party with the greatest care, figuring that would be
a great
few guests receive error and error to receive them even greater excess.
It would be important to invite people who were not too interested in Edgar
was doing, that it had opportunity to know well Miss. Wallace.
Also thinking about his own amusement, the Duke decided to include Lady Irene
among people who would spend the weekend in Quarrington. I knew she expected

forward to this invitation, because I realized some time ago that she was on
his game.
Maybe he decided to succumb to his charms and flattery ...
Lady Irene, one of the most beautiful women in London, features classic and
perfect body
had attracted the attention of the Duke from the first time he saw her.
Her husband, Lord Halford, was at least twenty years older than his wife.
it was much more aware of their duties to the court than with the
beautiful lady to accompany the dances and receptions to which they were
The Duke was sure that if she accepted the attentions of Lady Irene, do not
hurt anyone,
or contribute to a scandal. Would not her first lover, and, if both
behave with discretion, even if there were some whispers, found it difficult.
As he had expected, Halford lady replied accepting the invitation.
The Duke also included some gentlemen who used to make your party a success,
some neighbors, who were
for dinner only on Saturday night. Then, as the party had elapsed,
would plan to do Sunday.
Every detail has been widely discussed with John Simpson. This organized
with the greatest care, from the duties of servants and chefs to the
distribution of
rooms to guests. The Duke was charged only brother.
- I guess said Lord Edgar, very moody, at breakfast on Friday you
is expecting me to be very nice with this rustic hunting titles you
chosen for my future wife, no?
The Duke was silent, Lord Edgar scornfully dismissed the dish, as if
not hungry, and continued:
The more I think about it the more I feel inclined to go abroad, as I recall,
is the alternative.
- There is nothing to stop you, but I think you would miss his horses, his
and their clubs, and that in any country, would always be a stranger!
- What would be a great advantage! Lord Edgar replied aggressively,
- So it's very easy for you not to ask Miss. Wallace in marriage! Tell me that
foreign bank must submit his pension.
- Damn it all, Alveric! Lord Edgar retorted. I am your brother, and it happens

that I am
also his heir apparent, since you do not have children!
The Duke was silent, tense, and then said, almost as if to himself:
- I had forgotten!
- It's the truth, and if you must know, some moneylenders have tried to see
how much I
could move forward on the likelihood that I succeed him in case of his death.
- You did that? the Duke asked, furious.
- Do you hear what I said, but really, the stingy were not interested. Said
you are too young
to die naturally.
The Duke realized that Edgar had pronounced the word "naturally" and noted:
- Maybe you're thinking of a clever way to get rid of me not to incriminate
- I am not so foolish as to risk being hanged replied Lord Edgar, so
unusual. But if you happened to break his neck riding, or drown in the lake is
Clearly this would solve all my problems!
The idea that his brother could take his place was so nasty that the Duke
resumed reading the newspaper who was in front, supported on a pedestal of
- Suppose that this girl is unattractive, ugly as the need and talk to me
As her father was among the recruits under his command ...
Edgar spoke softly and seemed so desolate, with not a smile, Duke
- In this case, you can always look for other heirs, but as rich as Miss.
Wallace is very rare.
- It may be that the stories of her fortune to be exaggerated! So, what do we
- I do not think a man honest and decent as the General was able to lie.
Edgar Lord rose from the table, pushing his chair back violently, while
- Well, I could enjoy my last hours of freedom, but do not think it's too late
others to go to London to see Connie before hunting these titles arrive?
The Duke thought it was not worth responding and continued reading the
newspaper. The brother
exasperated, sent a plague, and slamming the door violently, left the room.
The Duke sighed. I thought for the thousandth time, how he had failed in the
education of Edgar.
Since very small, Edgar, a boy who was very attractive, kept resentment
against the older brother, deeming it more important. Becoming adult,

all Alveric to depreciate in order to attract attention to himself.
The Duke thought that the psychological reason of this behavior offensive,
even to the time
where the brother attended Eton, was because he aspired to inherit the
Gradually came to understand his brother and endeavored to make the most of
the Edgar
no one had done in similar circumstances.
Prosecutors and lawyers heritage family had censured him for it.
They warned him that giving so much money to his brother, harmed as a result,
others much more deserving of your help.
Lord Edgar, instead of showing themselves grateful, strove increasingly cause
not only
Alveric, but the whole family. This was making the Duke more skeptical than
When young, he had fallen in love the first time and suffered a great
disappointment. In that
time his father still lived and enjoyed good health. There seemed no
possibility of
Alveric inherit the title, at least the next twenty years.
The beautiful woman who had aroused the passion of Alveric was, though young,
fascinated and leaving him floating in the clouds.
She encouraged the advances of the young gentleman, but it took him seriously.
Fond as he was, Alveric suffered a terrible shock to discover that the woman
loved laughed at him behind his back. She used to read to her friends love
letters filled
of wonder that he received it.
Being extremely sensitive, Duke claimed the recuperarse; the wound that had
opened in his
fecharse soul was too slow. And even though Alveric apparently recovered,
the scars remained.
The worst happened when the fifth Duke died unexpectedly of appendicitis, and
inherited the dukedom. The young man who had suffered much, realizing he had
made a mistake,
abandoned the man who was engaged and tried in every way to win back the love

This, perhaps more than anything else, caused him to be convinced that all
women were perfidious and decided to never marry.
However, it would not be human if they refused the favors they offered. But it
his firm conviction that, when they expressed love you were thinking before
in her crown, and not him as a man.
His expression of skepticism became more evident when he decided that never
person would look for a single woman.
Just got involved with the sophisticated, beautiful women who experienced the
skilfully deceived
husbands, to avoid any scandal. They used to disguise the desire for public
but they were irresistible intimacy.
The Duke would select carefully, and each year tornavase more demanding.
Every woman felt proud to know that if she commented in whispers and
Duke were lovers.
But the mistress never knew if elected at the next meeting would be the Duke,
as was his
longing, so in love with her and she with him.
Leaving the breakfast room, Alveric thought there was nothing else to do for
Edgar. E
sooner lady Irene got to get it away from your worries, all the better.
John Simpson, more than anyone, knew that his master was feeling and wanted
sincerely for his happiness.
However, it seemed extraordinary that with so many properties and surrounded
by the
admiration of all, Duke was not happy.
John Simpson was aware that the Duke was a lonely man; missing something very
important in your life that could not be bought with money.
Looking at the guest list, the secretary thought:
"When Lord Edgar married to Miss. Wallace, will certainly change their way of
life, and
so maybe the Duke has a load less on the shoulders. "
Vina felt a little confused on the way to Quarrington. Knowing that your Aunt
being a guest of the Duke would be heaven, could not understand why the uncle
showed restless and uneasy.
In referring to itself, was a little embarrassed, but could not specify in
what. He then began to wander, thinking of the sumptuous palaces that he had

visited in India, with the

father imagined then that Quarrington could not be more worthy of admiration
those magnificent architectural gems. The Duke nor would be more imposing than
some of the elderly Indian princes had met.
Lady Wallace had spent the day giving orders and contraordens, fidgeting and
the clothes of her niece, interfering with their luggage, talking about your
hair, so
that, after four o'clock when they set off for Quarrington, Vina was
exhausted by the excitement of her aunt.
Had to listen to a long and boring lecture on what to use.
The clothes they had bought in Bond Street was, without doubt, very
elegant. Knowing that money was no problem when it came to Vina, his aunt
asked the
What was more expensive. Luckily, Lady Wallace had very good taste, and not
committed the
mistake of wearing her niece with excessive decorations.
. Lady Wallace changed his mind at least four times about what should Vina
use for the arrival in Quarrington. She demanded perfection in everything, and
loud any slip of the maid who took care of her niece, taking her to tears
even before all the luggage to be stowed.
The three went on a carriage which, although out of fashion, was big and very
Vina sat with their backs to the horses in front of his uncles, feeling that
they looked at her strangely, as if they were evaluating. She did not know
Why that attitude, but the impression persisted.
As they approached the great house, which was often described by her aunt,
Vina felt like I already knew. Lady Wallace said then:
- Here we are! And what could be more exciting? Vina, get your hat! Smooth
once off the chariot, not want you to be kneaded.
- Yes, Aunt Vina Marjory nodded meekly. Extending the neck to look at the
house, she
Quarrington thought it was really majestic and exactly as imagined.
There was a certain austerity that attracted that perfect architectural
symmetry. The
very green lawns, stretching down to the lake, where swans and ducks swimming,

made a lovely place.

- Nothing could be grander and more beautiful! Lady Wallace said excitedly.
The three climbed the steps covered with a red carpet, escorted by servants
dressed in the livery of Quarrington, garnished with buttons emblazoned that
sparkled in the sun
While following the uncles toward the main door, Vina imagined them as if they
Viceroy and the Vice-Queen of India, and that thought made her smile.
At the same time, it made her want to once again return to that country was so
A steward, already gray and looking like an archbishop, accompanied them
across the mighty
hall, whose floor was all marble. Old flags hung above an arched
marble mantel, recalling the battles in which the ancestors of the Duke had
Vina remembered that his father would have been interested in them, and while
they were conducted
to the hall, I thought of the many battles in which the colonel had been
He had survived dozens of fights to the end be killed in a mere conflict
men of a tribe in the northwest frontier.
"I would have had opportunity to talk to Dad, for
a moment that was, before he died, "he thought.
For a moment he forgot where he was and recalled the agony he felt the
know his father's death.
With a start, he heard his uncle say:
- Your Highness, I offer you my niece, Vina.
She then observed that, standing in front of him, stood a tall, handsome and
extremely elegant. He extended his hand and said, in a deep voice:
- Welcome to Quarrington, Miss. Wallace!
She made a little bow, and look at her the Duke noted with surprise that there
was sadness in
their eyes.
The host introduced the newcomers to several other guests, but Lord Edgar
was between them.
They all sat down and started talking, Lady Wallace had much to say to the
present, while Duke and General talked about horses.

- I read in the newspaper that Your Highness had a nice win at Newmarket two
days ago noted
- Indeed, and it made me happy, because it is a new horse, I gained a little
six months. Doubted that important to win the race!
- Your Highness was the winner, as always.
- He likes to ride, Miss. Vina? asked the Duke, by entering it into the
- Yes, Your Highness, I love!
- So if you want, you can try to mount one of my thoroughbreds morning.
- I'd love to!
She began to think small, thin and capricious horses that had mounted
India, all of them mild and difficult to control. Therefore, Vina thought of
his horses
Uncle docile and slow.
Looking for Duke, said:
- It would be a very exciting ride horses of Your Highness, for
Please would like to ride one that was not too gentle.
The Duke raised his eyebrows.
- What do you mean?
Vina realized that he had spoken without thinking, and, not
wanted to be rude to his uncle, said:
- I'm used to animals which are not specifically reserved for young ladies
not very confident in their equestrian prowess.
The Duke smiled.
- I know exactly what you mean, and I promise that you will reserve an animal
very fiery and
Vina smiled, and he noted that, contrary to what expected, it was not only
beautiful but
adorable. He imagined that the niece of a provincial general would be awkward
blond hair and blue eyes.
However, Vina had almost black hair and very bright, while
his eyes,
a touch of green, beautifully contrasted with the whiteness of her skin.
Shone on his young face a strength of character that he remembered
seen a girl before.
The Duke found that the appearance of the beautiful young woman reminiscent of

a Greek statue.
They came to him to mind the drawings he had seen when she was in India, and
the ocorrerlhe
Vina's father died in that country, asked:
- Was in India with his father?
- I was born there, and that was where I lived until my father was killed ...
and I have to come to England.
There was a note in her voice and something in his eyes that said as his
father had meant
for her.
The Duke sensed that Vina had been thinking in India to reach Quarrington.
When the ladies rose to go and rest before switching into the
dinner, he realized the grace with which she moved.
Immediately recalled the gait of the Indian women when
carried a burden on the head.
He continued watching Vina away, following her aunt, who was still talking
animatedly with one of the relatives of the Duke.
When they disappeared, the Duke remembered that the general had been in the
hall, and
sitting beside him, said:
- I'm sorry that my brother is not here to greet him, he was soon riding
after lunch, and should have gone further than he intended.
As other gentlemen were talking the other side of the fireplace, the Duke
lowered his voice
to ask:
- Your niece is very excited to meet my brother?
The general realized that he should be heard, and said in a conspiratorial
- My wife thought it wiser not to say there was another reason to be here
the weekend.
The Duke raised his eyebrows.
- You mean she does not know who planned her wedding?
- She has no idea!
The Duke, as well as surprised, it was a bit worried. Edgar were repeated as
many times
Vina that Wallace would be the end of his title, he believed that it was a
fair. Now he was worried, thinking not what his brother would find Miss.
Wallace, but
it would find it.

The Duke found himself overwhelmed by unpleasant sensation that would not
change the Vina
behavior of Edgar, as he expected, but simply would be shocked
that licentious mode of life.
Vina was happy to be alone in the luxury suite.
The large suitcase had been broken,
and her bath has been prepared, finding the flag in front of the fireplace
Lady Wallace entered the room to once again, to make a splash on the
niece should wear, while extolling the magnificence of the house and the
virtues of the Duke.
- Tonight you'll meet the brother of the Duke said.
Vina was not listening. She was sick of the compliments paid by the aunt to
the Duke and Lord Edgar.
I would prefer guests to the dinner were people like the soldiers and their
wives, she and her father used to receive at his home in India.
Better yet would be in the midst of Indians, with their voices soft and
melodious, all
they were nicer than any of the people she met in
Vina had traveled all over India with his father, and although the ladies find
a big mistake any familiarity with the natives, both men had been received by
Indians of all castes.
Because they speak Urdu, and many other languages, the colonel was always sent
special missions outside of its regulatory duties, for the most diverse parts
the country.
After the death of his mother, Vina always accompanied his father. Both had
been staying
both in small as in Indian homes sumptuous palaces. Vina become nearly as
versed as the father in the Urdu language.
He also taught her to use the instinct to know people.
Almost without giving account, Vina acquired the sensitivity to see beyond
appearance. The father
used to say, smiling;
To get to the heart of a man or a woman, you need to look at what's under the
Once arrived in England, Vina found it difficult to understand English, but

with time
now know much more about their personality than they would like the
knowledge of third parties.
His aunt, for example, was giddy, his education was merely a veneer, and she
was a
person tremendously delighted with the social position. At the moment, Lady
felt flattered and elated to be hosted in Quarrington.
Vina was a docile creature of nature, he was afraid and wanted to hurt someone
on purpose
well his aunt.
Thinking of his father, thought he might have known that her daughter and
uncles were
that ancestral home, the Colonel would surely be amused by the enthusiasm of
In India he had warned his daughter not to talk about his Indian friends
Englishmen. The colonel had said then:
- All English are snobbish and close themselves within social barriers, making
life more
difficult than it already is. You and I we do not do it, honey, but it would
be a mistake for censurlos
be so.
- I know what you mean, Dad Vina answered, smiling. The major's wife has
warned me
not to have any familiarity with our Indian servants.
- She did it! Then suffer an attack if you knew where you and I will be
Vina and his father were guests of an Indian who had a shop in strange
outskirts of Lahore. It had pieces of jade and crystal, Tibetan necklaces,
sculptures of
northern provinces, paintings and miniatures of the Rajputs.
In the adjoining room, Vina was sure to have clothes, with which a man could
disguise themselves as much as a Buddhist monk or as an untouchable caste of
Although not ask questions, know that such things mattered to her father. Upon
the store, he asked him:

- What do you think of our host?

Knowing that his father really valued his opinion, she replied slowly:
- It is much wiser than he wants to appear. It has a mystical perception that
better than the eye or the mind, I'm sure, Dad, that would be very useful in
issue that should remain secret.
The colonel smiled, commenting:
- Good girl! I will not tell all that this man who has just described as
accurately said about you, but know that is very, very flattering!
Now using his intuition, Vina thought the Duke, telling herself with
"Despite their beautiful home, his commanding presence and his handsome face,
he is not happy!"
This was a truth in which the frivolous Lady Wallace ever believed.
When I was dressed for dinner, Vina thought the white dress that had
chosen in Bond Street sat him very well.
He was draped in front and bustles were covered with beautiful chiffon
of which hung a tail that slithered across the floor.
Above the waist stood out the delicate bodice, embroidered all over with small
turquoises and
So he saw the dress, Vina decided she would stay with him, the turquoise,
lucky stones, in the East.
She had a set of turquoise necklace and bracelet, which had been present from
his wife
the Maharaja, and were part of the private collection of Marani.
The stones of jewelry were not great, but his mount was unique, a work
Exquisite Indian artisans.
The two valuable pieces of translucent complexion accentuated Vina.
She descended the stairs slowly, thinking that he need not expect his uncles
come pick her up in his quarters.
Upon entering the room, he noticed that there were only two gentlemen;
realized then that
should have waited a bit, as was earlier than other guests. The
Duke, however, came towards him.
- I must apologize for being so punctual Vina said, but I'm sure, Your
Highness, that
understand that living in the house of a soldier, I'm always afraid to be

The Duke smiled.
And, of course, is also concerned be scolded! I confess that I also was afraid
when there was reproach parade.
- Uncle Alexander can be quite severe! she replied with a smile.
Both were heading for the fire while they talked, and she noted that the
another gentleman had not moved since she entered the hall.
- Let me introduce to you my brother said the Duke. Lord Edgar Quarry, Miss.
She reached out, and so took the Lord Edgar, Vina noted in his eyes a
expression that frightened her. Do not know why, but, unlike the immediate
sympathy that
Duke had inspired him, his brother teased her a strange feeling of disgust.
Being apprehensive about the reaction of Edgar, the Duke was careful not to
put it to the
next to Vina for dinner, even though this attitude surprised Lady Wallace.
Considering, however, that Vina was very attractive, thought it judicious to
let Edgar
conscientizasse addition, before starting to blame her.
After all, his brother had far more luck than anyone would expect! How could
imagined that the general's family would be one so exquisite, so
I could not imagine her as the wife of Edgar. On the other hand, was not sure
about the
hoped that Edgar himself.
As Vina had seemed unusually gracious and well dressed in their clothes and
travel hats! And now, on that evening dress, having a small waist surrounded
a satin sash fringed turquoise, a beautiful young woman looked like a figure
drawn from a
All this occurred to the duke with great rapidity, while the observed
talk alternately with the two gentlemen who were at his side.
Hardly find a young man endowed with so much serenity, balance and ease.
Then noted that Edear showed up scowling and drank much more than would be
He went to meet the other gentlemen, to lead them to the hall where they have
the ladies were grouped around the fireplace, looking more beautiful flowers

forming a lovely bouquet.

Vina, sitting at the piano, played softly a piece of music he did not know,
that seemed poignant, it was a tune that took care of the listener, holding
full attention, even if that were the intention of the pianist.
The Duke thought it would be a mistake to send Edgar to talk to her at that
moment. Waited
everyone was sitting and walked to the piano.
Vina gave him a look together with a small smile and continued playing.
- I had no idea he was a musician, Miss. Wallace!
- So, Your Highness should not have studied the language of the country when
he was in India.
The Duke looked puzzled for a moment, then said:
- You mean "Vina" has a special meaning?
- Is the goddess of music!
- Then her mother chose the name because he thought it would be appropriate
for the lady?
he asked in a tone playful.
- Mom loved music Vina said, while the soft melody was still flowing
his fingers. When I was born, my father hired a group of Indian musicians to
playing in the garden. These musicians were very fond of my parents, and,
please them, they played for more than twenty-four hours continuously.
The Duke laughed.
- In this case, his name is very appropriate, and I beg you to excuse my
Vina took his hands off the keyboard.
- Your Highness would prefer that I stop?
- I would like to do only what he wanted, and I think that's playing
beautifully, only
I did not recognize the melody.
- It was not published.
- You mean the lady who wrote it? he asked not hide his admiration.
She nodded, and he said:
- I would love to continue playing, and I'm sure which is more than playing
through the words.
Vina looked at him in surprise.
- I did not think anyone could understand what this song expressed, perhaps

prudent to be careful.
- You are telling me that what I heard I could shock or might insult me?
Vina laughed.
- Nothing so bad, but people sometimes resent when they read their
- That's what Miss you doing?
The Duke could not say why he had done that question. Suddenly, he felt that
in addition to their
natural beauty, Vina had a very accurate perception peculiar to the people of
the East.
As if he knew that he was waiting for an answer, Vina said after a moment:
- I try not to read the secret thoughts, but I can not avoid a strong
intuition that makes me
know what those thoughts are really ... although people try to disguise it, or
even pretend to think of different things.
Vina almost naively talked with the Duke, but he felt that his words were a
Moving away from the piano, wondered what Vina feel about Edgar.
Maybe all the plans they had done nothing to give.
Vina woke up and for the first time since he had come to Quarrington, felt
excited. Dreamed he was in India and rode with his father.
Then he remembered that the Duke told him he could ride that morning. In
night before had asked the waitress what time the guests used to go to
horseback riding.
- When should think, Miss answered her, but none of the ladies are usually
up early, the gentlemen usually ride before breakfast, or soon after.
Vina looked at the clock beside the bed, and saw that they were not yet six
o'clock. This was the
time that she and her father used to go to ride in India, before the heat
She imagined that England would be different, no one would come so soon. In
the house of the uncle
grooms they were not in place before seven.
However, he thought, if just for the stables, and riding alone could
choose a horse to your taste, better than any one chosen by the duke.

He promised to give him what she chose, but surely you'd get an animal
and meek, because it is more delicate and different from the English women,
used to hunt.
His aunt told him that created the dress in, but, being a thing that had
always done
alone, she wore the dress without difficulty riding, gave the tie on the shirt
and pulled on
Vina looked in the mirror as he placed the hat with a fine gauze and veuzinho
thought it was too elegant. Neither seemed a good rider, and had more
yet that would give you a gentle horse.
No, she did not want to ride an animal and feel as if on a bed of feathers.
I wanted a horse that had to keep under control, who enjoyed the battle
rider and the animal.
Vina had no trouble finding the stable. As expected, only
is younger grooms who were there, they raised up earlier than others.
They went to her politely, so the saw, and one of them accompanied her in the
She proved to be more excited, because all the horses were magnificent,
it is difficult to know which to choose.
Finally solved by a black stallion that seemed even larger and more splendid
than others, and asked the groom sealed.
- This is not a horse for ladies, young lady.
- It's the only one who want to ride. Please seal it for me. The boy was in
doubt, but not
wanted to discuss, and with some difficulty sealed the stud, whose name was
Vina helped the groom holding Hercules and whispering a few words
softly, as his father always used to do when the horse was going to mount
Finally, the stable able to drive the stud to the stump, which rose to Vina
build the magnificent thoroughbred.
So he sat in the saddle, Vina felt that this was the most exciting time that
experienced since he had come to England.
She left the barn at the back gate, because no one wanted to find;
wanted to ride alone.
After struggling a bit to control Hercules, which proved rebellious, wanting

prove their independence, Vina went through paddocks, stables beyond, and
reached the
perfect for riding.
There were numerous low hedges, she lost no difficulties, then the starting
explore the place with the feeling of escaping from something threatening.
Vina could not define what it was, but felt that the house and its owner were
somewhat oppressive.
The night before she noticed that the guests of the Duke looked at her
speculatively, his
aunt, for no apparent reason, also looked in an unusual way.
"I suppose Aunt Marjory'm afraid that I behave improperly and
ashamed, "he thought with a smile, remembering that when she had dinner with
The viceroy, accompanying his father, he had warned about how to behave.
Vina had a long way, away from much of the house, and found it convenient
Suddenly, yearned to continue riding up over the horizon. Maybe findsomething more interesting than the monotonous life which had been supporting
for a year.
It had to be honest and recognize that he was unhappy by the lack of father,
and he would find no
anywhere dark and unpleasant.
It was a tremendous effort to Vina could be kind and polite with his uncles
and his
friends. His only escape was the reading, which her aunt considered a
lamentable loss
of time.
In fact, Lady Wallace was always looking for ways to make her give up the
which was interested. This meant having to talk to people who had nothing
in common, or else do something that Aunt considered the most fun of all: go
At that moment I was free, and because Hercules was obstinate, had to
therein. After a few victories to her, he felt that, finally, they both
Unfortunately had to go back, and reluctantly turned around, making Hercules
to return home.
He saw in that instant, the distance, a lone rider

supposed to be a guest of the Duke, the last thing he wanted now was
a small talk about the weather. Even worse would be having to listen to some
praises fools.
Several gentlemen, the party the night before, had cast admiring glances at
but she despised, thinking them stupid and empty because their conversation
was restricted to
racing and hunting of whom had participated in the winter.
Incidentally, these were also the only issues on which the gentlemen spoke
young or older, during the dinner at the home of his uncles.
She would like them to be able to address other issues, like politics, or
occurred in the regiment that General commanded.
In India it was pretty different.
The older officers talked with the colonel on the Russian infiltration of the
northwestern border, and talked about the terror spread by the thugs, members
of a
Hindu religious organization, all thieves and murderers, or discoursed on
sati, which
considered an act of horror.
And there were the mysterious and secret visits his father did. When he
returned, others
officials, also concerned with how he insurrection, came to the house of
Colonel, and he
told them what he had discovered.
Despite knowing that it was a reprehensible act, Vina had lurked one night,
the meeting
the father with the officers. But in telling what he had done, the colonel had
said only, with
a smile:
- You are very clever, my doll, to realize that my life is in your hands.
A thoughtless word would mean my death, but to other people.
- You know that I will be discreet, Dad, and I will never do anything that
might hurt him. Despite being
amendrontada with what you do, I feel that is very exciting.
After kissing her, Colonel forbade her to spy. Vina had discovered many

authorities would have left horrified if they knew the facts as important
were known by a girl.
Often, to trust her, the colonel asked her daughter to use his intuition.
- What do you think of the man who came to see me yesterday? he asked, knowing
heard everything that was said, although the visitor does not have the
slightest idea of it.
Sometimes she responded:
- He is honest, but a little silly. Other times it could be the answer:
He is only interested in money. If someone offers you more than you, it does
hesitate to accept.
- How can you be sure?
- When he told her what I spent to get the information you wanted, was asking
more than was spent, and his voice showed greed.
Her father hugged her and said:
- I should not allow to do that, but you helped me a lot.
"How could so wonderful these days end?" Vina wondered
desperately when he arrived in England.
Now, for wanting to escape the knight who might be looking for you or not, she
Hercules led to a hedge much higher than those who had jumped
previously, but the animal managed to implement it without difficulty.
Then, late in the meadow, he saw another hedge, and to his delight, Hercules
seemed to fly
about it.
Vina saw in a plain, and thought that had eluded his pursuer. Hercules
continued trotting, and she thought of her father. Then, with a huge shock, he
heard a
sharp voice behind him asking:
- How could jump like that, irresponsibly, with a horse that has no right
to assemble '.
As he spoke, the Duke came towards her, which,
looking back, he noticed that his pursuer was very
angry. The Duke arrived at the barn ten minutes after she left
Hercules and ordered to prepare for him to mount, but was told that the horse
had been assembled by one of its guests.
The head of the grooms came running toward the master, who questioned the

beginner, and said:
- I did not expect to come so soon, Your Highness ... The Duke interrupted
him, saying in a tone
- I have just been informed that someone rode Hercules without my permission.
The head of the grooms looked at the bay of Hercules, which was empty, as if
believe his eyes, then said sharply to the boy:
- You mean that someone rode the horse of His Highness?
- She insisted on riding it! the boy said, justifying himself.
- It!? Are you saying that a lady is riding Hercules?
- Yes, Your Highness!
- Saddle Wellington! peremptorily ordered the duke. Three minutes later he
stable by the back entrance, where the groom said that Vina had left.
He had no idea what direction it would have taken, but could only have gone
through the meadows
adjacent, which were an invitation to any rider.
The Duke was very apprehensive because if Hercules was the end of their usual
ruses, Vina could be lying in the bottom of a trench or unconscious in a ditch
Surely he would find Hercules returning alone to the stable.
When you see the distance the horse and rider was looking for, had a deep
sense of
Realizing that Vina fled from him, he thought of his impertinence, and after
jumped those hurdles, which he himself was hard to do, he felt his anger
Hercules had been bought from a friend of the duke, who told him frankly that
stallion was very dangerous and difficult to control.
- You're the only man I know can controllo said the friend.
The duke had found that he was right, but he liked the challenge.
Now, the stallion was less restless, but still, the Duke had not allowed
anyone to mount.
It was with horror that he saw Miss. Wallace jumping a fence after another,
waiting at any

now see it thrown to the ground. If she did not break his neck, would be at
When the saw easily dominating the stallion, could hardly believe that was not
- I. .. I'm sorry if I did something wrong Vina said softly, but me Your
said I could choose a spirited horse!
- Hot! he exclaimed, and suddenly laughed. I can not believe it! How could
mount an animal that I myself find it hard to master?
Vina smiled and bent down to stroke the neck of Hercules, saying:
- Hercules is magnificent! I think he and I understand.
- Are you saying that has a magical power over horses, like a lion tamer of
Vina nodded, saying:
- I do not think it is magic, but Dad said that if really we loved an animal,
understand and reciprocate that love, which would not do with other people who
were afraid
As he spoke he was thinking of Indian elephants, who loved their mahouts,
guides, also remembered the tiger cub which nursed after the
tigress was shot.
The little tiger was so adorable as a kitten. Vina
had cried a lot when his father was forced to send him to a zoo in another
part of India, and had to lose sleep for nights, thinking that the pup feel
abandoned and sad.
After riding next to Vina in silence for some time, the Duke said:
- I must admit that the lady is the best rider I've ever met, even though I
My heart almost stopped!
Vina looked surprised for a moment, then asked:
- Your Highness thought that Hercules was to bring me down?
- I was convinced it would! I came to see her seriously injured.
- I suppose I should apologize for Hercules built without permission to you
Highness, but to be honest, I thought no one would be up so early ... I
would be back to the stable before they could worry about me.
- I also got up early because I did not sleep very well.

That was true. The Duke had been thinking of Edgar, trying to find another
alternative that is not his marriage to Vina Wallace. Now he met her, knew
she was not the kind of woman who liked Edgar, nor could probably Vina
reforming a rake.
The brother has never been attracted to a young gentle and soft as Miss.
for he was fond of women gaudy, flashy, showy and overly
covered with jewels, as the actress of theater, the dancers, who had always
been to the mountains,
and which would never consider resigning.
Buy now clearer, Alveric said himself that he was an idiot. But who
know, with the general support Vina, Edgar could prevent her from committing
their wild
extravagance, or at least stop it, since it would control the money.
When raiara the day, the duke does not pick up naked sleep, and then decided
to ride.
The two horses were moving side to side by the vast plain toward the house,
and Vina
- Sorry my behavior, but still want to know that Hercules was to assemble
experience more exciting and wonderful that I have lived since I came to
- Do you really miss India?
- Exit from there it was as if the gates of Paradise are shut to me.
- Are you saying you do not like this country?
- To be honest, I find it too dark and boring. He looked at her in
astonishment, and said Vina
- Please do not repeat it to my uncles. They were very good and brought me to
with them ... But they can not understand how it would be different if I was
with Dad.
- I thought you found the headquarters of India constringentes very stuffy;
always thought that the lives of European women in that country was very
Vina laughed, replying:
- My life with my father was not a little dull, I can guarantee! We traveled
throughout the country, and I'm sure that'd be shocked if he knew the strange

places where
walk and the people we know.
Suddenly, the Duke remembered that Colonel Wallace had been a person who
they talked with the utmost respect, and he remembered something he had
forgotten: one night
Secretary of State for India had said in London:
- I heard that Sir Alexander Wallace is his neighbor. The Duke concodara, and
the Secretary
His brother, David, was one of the most brilliant men we had in India.
The Duke showed up surprised, but someone interrupted the conversation and did
not speak more
on the subject.
Now, he realized what kind of work the father of Miss. Wallace had been
engaged in
India, and thought he could understand what she was feeling.
They rode in single file along a path through the
woods, and soon arrived at the park in which they found the stately home, the
Duke looked
with satisfaction, before saying:
- I hope you enjoy Quarrington.
- It is a stately home.
The Duke wanted to hear the usual compliments to all who looked
Quarrington or talked about it. Vina did not show as eloquent, he said,
almost as if forced to be more keen:
- See that tallest tower, in the end there? It is what remains of the Norman
castle built in this
site by William of Normandy, after winning the Battle of Hastings.
Vina looked at the tower and noted that it completely altered the symmetry of
the house, whose
construction period outside the Georgian.
- This tower is known as the "Tower of Despair" continued the duke, wishing to
the attention of her companion.
- What do most unfortunate! Why him?
- The Norman baron who built Quarrington brought forth a large number of
prisoners who had fought fiercely against him. The Baron wanted to keep such
prisoners in the tower for the rest of their lives. It was the punishment
inflicted on them because they
killed many of his soldiers.

- And they were imprisoned in the tower?

- Yes, but the Baron was very lenient to allow rose to the top where
Vina felt that this was not the end of the story, and the duke looked
Of course there was a moat surrounding the castle at the time, but now there
is only one
small portion, below the tower.
- Your Highness mean ... prisoners threw themselves into the ditch?
- Exactly! And the family story says that no less than a hundred
perished this way.
Vina shuddered.
- I think if I owned this house, I would sweep away forever the fear that
men must have felt before drowning.
It was the first time that such a suggestion was made to the lord of
Quarrington. Looking surprised
to Vina, the Duke said:
- It would be sacrilege to destroy something that has been preserved for so
many generations. The house was
constructed and reconstructed, but the Tower of Despair was always spared.
- I hope at least that no more prisoners in the tower, and, if any, that is
not me!
She had spoken in jest, but, seeing the Duke's frown,
accelerated the pace of Hercules.
Back home, Vina changed clothes and went downstairs for breakfast.
As anticipated, in-room breakfast only felt younger guests, as the
ladies, as his aunt, took coffee in the bedroom or family room adjacent to it.
There was no sign of the Duke, or he had taken his breakfast very quickly, or
then it would be taking too long to change.
Vina did not tell anyone that he had been riding, and first came into his
head that might have infringed the label coming out without a chaperone.
One thing I noticed upon arriving in England were the restrictions that were a
Young. At the same time, he thought he had no social life in India after the
death of
mother, she and her father traveled a lot. But surely the customs in Bombay or
Calcutta not
would be quite different from England.
In his excitement, had forgotten that it would be wrong for a woman horseback

without being accompanied by at least a groom. And perhaps more would still be
ride next to a boy.
However, the Duke should not be included in that category because he was a
It occurred to him at that moment that the night before a beautiful
lady who belonged to the group, Lady Irene Halford, shown to be very
possessive with
Duke, to stay and could be very upset to learn that he had spent part of his
time with a young guest.
- What will you do this morning, Miss. Wallace? asked one of the gentlemen at
the table
the breakfast.
- I have not seen Aunt Marjory to ask him what would be your program.
- What I'd like to do is take her to a carriage ride he continued. I
sure would love to know the property of our host, who is modeling.
I am more than sure like to see ...
- There you go, Edmund, with his advances, as always cut one another. I would
propose to Miss. Wallace we went to the stove, it could show you the most
beautiful plants
the country.
- For I have a better idea said another, entering the conversation. What if we
horseback riding, Miss. Wallace?
Everyone was looking for Vina as they talked, but when finished her coffee,
she got up,
- They are all very nice, but I see my aunt, and then want to go see all
What's in the library.
Thus he spoke, he walked away, not realizing that the three boys were stunned,
following her with his gaze.
Later Vina was with Lady Wallace and several other ladies know the greenhouse,
were the most wonderful plants grown in the region.
When they were back, Vina led Butler to the library. This, as it
imagined, was splendid, with shelves ranging from floor to ceiling, lined with
books. In all
the extension of one wall had a gallery.

Vina longed could spend the whole day there without any interruption.
After lunch, the group wanted to ride a horse, and the Duke said he would show
them the new race track
it was across the park.
For him, the possibility of Miss. Wallace Hercules ride back was out of
question. Despite being booked her a horse, too hot, it did not compare
with the untamed thoroughbred.
Guessing what she was thinking, the host piscoulhe and said softly:
- I am afraid you are disappointed.
- I'm too polite to say so, and indeed no terms of comparison.
- I agree, but I think that Hercules has had its share of excitement for one
She laughed, and he liked the sound of that wonderful young man and
spontaneous laughter.
They were then all together towards the new race track, but Edgar does not
found among the group.
Vina is not missed him, but Duke did, and there was a certain harshness in her
voice when
asked the steward: - Lord Edgar does not come with us?
- No, Your Highness, Your Lordship is playing billiards.
The Duke said nothing but thought, to follow behind the group members, which
are planning.
He had always been unpredictable, but it was strange that, having decided to
propose marriage to Miss.
Wallace did not make any effort to know her better.
Lady Wallace thought exactly the same.
After tea there was still no sign of Lord Edgar and Lady Wallace was just
going to suggest the
Vina to rest a little before dinner, when she realized that she had
- Where was my niece? asked a gentleman who finished making his cup
- She said something about going to the library.
- Books! Lady Wallace sniffed disdainfully
I told you before the blind will be fifty!
She looked forward to the door that opened, and saw Lord Edgar entered the

-Hello, Edgar! Where have you been? I missed you this afternoon, said one of
the gentlemen.
- I was drinking Edgar replied, half rude, in a voice slightly slurred.
Then, seeing Lady Wallace, went to her, asking:
- Where is your niece?
- You are at the library she replied with a smirk.
Without another word, Edgar came around on his heels, leaving the room.
Lady Wallace sighed and clasped his hands, thinking that the long-awaited
moment arrived,
after all! Now your dreams come true!
In the library, Vina selected half a dozen books, each more compelling finding
than the other.
When you load them from the shelves to the bank and built a fine velvet
red, which was below the window, she thought she had never seen so many books
interessassem him.
I would make sure had time to eat at least some of them before
return home. The hardest part was knowing where to start.
She flipped through the pages of two books he selected, and eventually found
himself completely
absorbed by reading the next book from the first paragraph.
Vina found himself so absorbed did not realize that the door had opened, an
then he saw Lord Edgar, standing beside her.
Raising his head, she looked at the newcomer and tried to disguise his
you stop reading. Just wished he would not be there to talk.
He noted, however, that there was a very strange expression on the face of
Lord Edgar and
heard him say a harsh voice unexpectedly:
- Since we both know the reason you have been Quarrington, I'd better tell
hoping to hear, and the
soon we are married the better, as I'm concerned. What date do you suggest?
Vina was surprised and frightened by such words of Lord Edgar aggressively
face it.
He was bewildered. From the look and behave the way, this gentleman should
drunk much too much.
- I. .. I do not understand ...

- But of course we understand! cut him fiercely. It is ridiculous to think

that may give a
pleasing appearance to what is mere business transaction.
He seemed to spit out the words.
- You said ... a transaction?
- Give it any name you like, but basically it is a business. You want my
title. I
want your money. We give very well together.
He now brazenly mocking, and Vina got up softly.
- I am afraid, sir, I do not know ... what are talking about ...
- Come on! Do not be naive to me! His uncles have all agreed with my brother.
I said, just want to know the date. There are many people interested in that!
Vina took a step toward the door. Realizing that she tried to leave, he said,
- It can not be so hard to decide! Say, two weeks? Three? Or even four?
Is solved. As for me, the sooner the better!
Now Vina looked nervous at Lord Edgar, looking once again to the door.
Furiously, he stepped in front of her.
- Are you trying to play hard with me? Or will I reproach? I want to kneel and
kiss your hands? If so, know that I will not! Why, demons, I do it?
- Honestly ... I do not know what you mean ...
- Do not know? Then you can let me explain in plain English! I'm telling you
to mark
the date of our marriage, because I'm asking for your hand!
- If it is, my answer is no! I have no intention of marrying you!
But I consider a great honor for me ... has proposed marriage.
Vina was able to print a sarcastic tone of voice, even though you feel shaky
and scared.
She was convinced that Edgar had drunk too much and was not aware of that
No man has ever spoken to him that way, and the attitude of Lord Edgar was an
Again she made a move to go to the door, but Lord Edgar stood before him.
- Not wanting to "get out" at the last moment, are you? Things went well
arranged by my brother and uncles. Know that no good wanting to fight
- What are you saying? Lord Edgar looked at her.
- Do you want to honestly tell me that you said nothing?
- With respect to marriage? No, of course not! He looked at her as if he still

doubted, after
- It's extraordinary! But no matter, now you know, and must conform if, like
- Conforming to me? With what?
- With our marriage he went to talk to her like an idiot.
- But ... I have no intention of marrying you or anyone else who does not
- Ah! My God! You are worried about it? For know that I would love any woman
I paid my debts and let me take life the way I like.
Vina looked over his shoulder toward the door.
She could not get there without pushing your partner, and was afraid that he
grab to prevent it. So, taking a deep breath, said:
- Since it says that my uncles and his brother connived to treat our marriage,
I doubt his word.
But I think this issue only concerns us, not them, is not it? I feel
very honored by your proposal, but my answer is no!
Was a great effort to say these words that came out so hesitant and scared,
Vina was shaking it.
Lord Edgar was toward her, saying:
Know that you can not retreat. His uncle is his guardian before the law, and
will have to obey him.
I may seem to him a hateful husband, but try to be polite in public. Moreover,
- We have enough money to live as you wish, as I can take my
own life.
He moved closer.
- After all, is not so bad.
Then, with a rapidity that astonished Lord Edgar, Vina reached the door and
opened it;
before he could stop her, she ran into the hall with the rapidity of a deer
For a moment, Lord Edgar thought about going after her, then realized that she
would have
reached the hall, where there were jobs created.
He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiping his forehead, swore:
- Damn this girl is stupid!

Vina went to his room.

No one was there. The maid had not yet come prepararlhe bath. Bewildered, she
looked around. Ocorreulhe that her aunt might have come to talk to her, so
the door. I could hardly believe it was true what Lord Edgar
he said.
However, being highly intelligent, understand that what happened was not just
possibility, but even explained the attitude of his uncles to her before
coming to
The aunt is not tired of repeating as Lord Edgar was attractive, and the
enthusiasm she
demonstrated to the guests would know that the Duke was already motivated by
the plan which had
Vina moved toward a chaise longue, which sank, trying to think more
clearly all that had happened and what action to take.
She was still trembling, and there were reasons for this: as had been treated
rudely, the
shock that brought the messy emotions that had stirred; worse was the
horror he felt at the mere idea of marrying a man as Lord Edgar.
Since the turn, had found it repulsive, and intuition does not
the wrong.
"How can I marry such a man? Someone who wants me only for my
money? "she thought.
When Vina learned the immense fortune left by the Maharaja,
She had been happy simply because they have been recognized goodness and
dedication of the father.
When he realized later that the money would be hers, decided to use it to help
the Indian people, he loved.
Vina asked the lawyers of his uncle, who came to take charge of her business,
to send money to people who had worked with dedication to his father,
including, of course, the servants who had been devoted to him and his family
throughout life.
What Vina suggested at the time there was such a huge sum, but the aunt said,
indirectly, that she was throwing away your money like water.
Vina did not replied, but felt an irresistible need to have his father's
advice to

able to employ his fortune well, benefiting others.

She remembered as a child hearing her mother say to her husband:
- I hope, my dear, do not bother, but I gave fifteen rupees for the wife of
Taylor, who is expecting eighth child.
- The poor man can not support so many children! watched his father.
- It is true, and he contracted debts. The poor man is so good, although not
terms of money left, I thought I should help them.
- Of course it should! But if I can not control your kind heart, will soon be
Despite joking that his father had spoken, Vina knew there was a lot of truth
as said.
His mother could not bear to see anyone go hungry, and poverty prevalent among
When he understood things better, Vina found that the mother economize as much
could, depriving themselves of clothing in order to help the hungry and sick.
She was convinced that if Aunt Marjory had much money, this would be spent on
and props to herself.
Vina, on the contrary, always liked to buy books, and not worried about what
to wear.
During the last month since he learned that all the money he had inherited had
been laid
on account of his uncle and that the jewels had come to their house, Vina had
been thinking about what
would do in the future.
Come to the conclusion that the best would be to talk about it with his uncle,
but the opportunity had not arisen before they had been invited to the end of
Quarrington week.
After such an invitation, not one was left him little time to think about
anything except in
Now, looking back, I realized that was all planned. This idea seemed to him so
horrifying, that his first impulse was to leave the house immediately, to be
never to see Lord Edgar in front.
However, because he was determined to logical reasoning, thought his uncle, as

tutor, could force her to do what he wanted. This was not surprising,
whereas in India, where marriages were arranged by the parents of the couple.
Most Hindu girls had never seen the couple until the time of the ceremony
Bridal make up.
Vina felt revolt arranged marriages since meeting a young wife
an important Maharaja, who was visiting along with her father.
This young, only fifteen years old, married two months ago, was found sobbing
painfully, when Vina visited at the palace wing aimed at wives of powerful
Vina was so impressed with the misery of the girl who sat beside her, in
attempt to comfort her. Knowing how to speak Urdu fluently, soon had learned
the reason for
so desperately.
The young wife and trusted her, still crying, spoke of his loneliness in the
palace of
as the other wives of the Maharajah reviled for being the youngest. The worst
and most
was that the Maharaja of very advanced age, was almost moribund, and, as
astrologers had predicted, would soon die, and she should die with him,
according to
- You mean ...?
- Although the British ban it, all widows committed sati, throwing themselves
on the pyre
funeral that consumes the body of her husband explained to the young.
Vina had not known what to say. The young, almost a girl, had been forced to
marry for
that his father felt very honored to be given to the Maharajah's daughter, and
she would be obliged to
died along with her husband! It was abominable!
This procedure was the custom in India for many centuries, and such act is
Vina had spoken with his father about it and he agreed that the sati was
barbaric and cruel, despite
continue to be practiced.
The maharajas had power of life and death in their provinces, and felt right
they own their wives die with them.
- But Ajsha has only fifteen, Dad! Vina protested.
- I know, my dear, and to imagine how it afflicts. I promise to do everything

to prevent
practice of sati as the Maharaja died, but I doubt they go get something.
A month later the Maharaja died, and all the widows committed sati, although
British try to stop them.
This event had Vina was thinking about how despicable an arranged marriage.
This could, in some cases, provide benefits to the parents of the bride, but
she was horrible.
Even without considering the horror of sati, how could a fifteen year old come
to love
a man already on the brink of the grave?
It should be scary confrontation, first with a man she felt instinctive
aversion. She wanted to be so happy in marriage
as their parents,
that radiated happiness whenever they were together.
How foolish it was, had noticed how his mother was worried and anxious when
husband was away at some of his mysterious trips.
When he returned, often unexpectedly, her mother wept for joy, and ran
into the arms of her husband. At that moment the room seemed to light, as if a
God was able to provide more light.
- Oh, my dear! It's back! The voice of the bride looked like a hymn of love in
the air vibrating.
"I want to feel like that when I get married!" Thought Vina.
Did you know that never in millennia, could feel this good fortune by marrying
Lord Edgar.
Instead, have a horror of the very idea of him touching a finger.
Her father taught her to know the human heart, and she knew, so he saw the
brother of
Duke, who abhorred. Worse than that, it frightened her.
Vina always retreated when a man tried sentarse very close to it, or
while trying to retain their hands more than necessary to greet her, nor that
a kiss.
Learned to avoid too much intimacy with the cunning that was part of his
Whenever a boy tfhdesse a very familiar, she disappeared before he could
enter your home, or they strove not to be alone with him.
This feeling was instinctive defense, and prevented her to become involved in

Now, however, she found herself face to face with something hard and scary.
Trying to be objective, realized that if I spoke with her aunt on the proposal
made by
Lord Edgar, she would be elated. His conviction was full of the idea of
had left the frivolous wife's uncle.
This felt to be opposed by nearby Quarrington and not being invited to parties
that the Duke offered frequently. She hated being relegated to the background.
Lady Wallace often had voiced their desire to be close to people
considered the most important country. And nobody was more important than the
Slowly the pieces began to fit together like a puzzle.
Vina realized that it would suffer a lot of pressure to accept the proposed
Wedding of Lord Edgar.
"How could such a thing happen to me?" She sighed. "As my father would know
that the
so valiantly to save the life of the Maharaja, this would leave him such a
fortune? "
She had been anxious to know that the amount inherited was fabulous. And now
that fortune
for it would be a tragedy.
"If not Lord Edgar, of course Aunt Marjory find someone as important as him,
and similarly unpleasant. "
He was trembling just the thought of being touched by a man like Edgar, and
perhaps be
forced to give birth to their children.
This idea has caused a rush to get up and walk toward the window, looking for
Despite being only vaguely aware of what happened between a man and a
women when they made love, she could not have lived in India without knowing
how it was
painful birth of a child.
Indian women conceive children one after another, until early
Vina thought, apprehensive that, by marrying Lord Edgar, he would leave the
caring for children while he lived in London, enjoying themselves within the
standards that
set for himself, and who had adopted so far.

Came into his mind the comments he had heard about him, that meant
nothing so far, but now sounded in his mind as a
Lady Farrington, a great friend of the nosy aunt was stubborn, and never went
to his house
without any say-that-dizque referring to the scandals of the neighbors.
Again and again, Vina had heard comments about Lord Edgar, and never been
interested in
them. One day, however, noticed that the Lady Farrington said it arrested the
aunt, and commented that:
- Surely the Duke does not endorse the behavior of his brother.
This observation was made after Lady Farrington's description,
a race
obstacles held at midnight, in which two participants left badly injured and
horses destroyed.
Vina, who was always thinking about something else when visiting his aunt Lady
happened to be interested to hear the conversation in horses.
She thought that a man capable of destroying an animal should be put in
prison, up to
had spoken to his uncle about it, and the general had replied:
- Young and stupid fools! They go so drunk they do not even know what they are
- Surely, someone has to put a stop to these night races, which require
horses to jump hurdles too high, it is obvious that riders are unable to
control them. Suppose that you tell them, they do not listen to him?
- In a regiment under my command, I am sure they would, but in this case, the
is the Duke of Quarrington, since it allows the size of this brother unworthy
Feeling that he could not do anything, Vina had been very distressed by the
horses, and commented
the fact with the groom's uncle.
- This is shameful, Miss. Wallace said he. I would never let one of those
participate in a race like that. No way!
Vina thought with relief that there were horses on the property were very

heavy and untrained, so it is unlikely that they could take part in one of
those crazy races.
Now this fact and many others pertaining to Lord Edgar came to her memory.
When the maid knocked on the door, Vina was still thinking, with desperation,
he should do.
After bathing, it automatically put the first dress that had taken from the
wardrobe and sat before the mirror.
While the beautiful hair neatly arranged Vina, the maid suggested to him:
- I think this dress needs something around his neck. Can I bring him his
jewelry box?
- My Jewelry Box? Vina repeated, vaguely.
Only then remembered that her aunt had insisted that she would bring with it
fantastic jewels left by the Maharaja.
That surprised a lot, because the pieces are too spectacular and exaggerated
for such a young person like her.
His will was to Aunt suggest that left at home, but it occurred to him that in
Quarrington would talk about the jewels, and her aunt would certainly show
them, especially
for being Indian.
Suddenly she thought of the fabulous jewelry as something unpleasant and said
- No, no! Of course not! I will not use any jewelry! The maid looked at her,
surprised by the
Vina had spoken as forcefully.
Finding, however, that the maid was right in saying that it would be
appropriate to use something
around the neck, Vina got a narrow velvet ribbon to adorn her neck.
Taking a mimosa orchid of a vase which was on her dresser,
held it on the velvet ribbon.
- It's beautiful, young lady! cried the maid. I've never seen anyone use a
flower like this before!
- It is much more comfortable Vina smiled. I'm glad to be able to leave the
necklaces and tiaras for the ladies married.
The waitress grinned mischievously.
- This is what will be soon, Miss. Wallace!
There was an expression of certainty in her eyes, which made Vina thinking

that created
knew why she was there, so they should not ignore the intentions of
Lord Edgar.
It was not surprising, because the servants of the world always knew what was
happening around them.
Vina felt that the bars of a prison were closing around her, and she
no output.
While descending the stairs, made a prayer, asking desperately for someone
could save her.
In the early morning, the Duke returned from four of the Lady Halford, yawning
It was strange that he was unable to focus on meeting the love that had
Irene Halford, although it was very exciting.
She was all that was certainly a man could want: beautiful, witty, exotic, and
very passionate about it.
The Duke acknowledged that on another occasion, not only appreciate the hours
that had
spent together, but would find it impossible to think of anything else except
beautiful lover.
But that night, although physically stimulated by the expertise of Irene, you
are not out of the
thought the frightened look of Vina, which made him aware that something was
very wrong.
Edgar had been drinking excessively, which was nothing unusual, and there
seemed to him that
he had achieved his goal. The Duke had been watching a lot Edgar and Vina
slightly and remained apprehensive.
Vina could hardly believe that, despite the fact that it is totally different
from what he
imagined, could refuse the marriage proposal of his brother.
If Lady Wallace decided that would relate to the family Ouarv, Vina would have
to accept the
decision of the guardian.
Unfortunately, the duke had no opportunity to speak with Vina, but noticed
that she seemed
was pale and tense, when
come to the living room where the guests were assembled before dinner.
Then the table, he had found that in her eyes there was a clear expression of

Although he was determined to talk to her after dinner, when the gentlemen
the ladies in the hall, there was no sign of Miss. Wallace.
The Duke thought it would be tactless to ask where she had gone.
Also there had been no chance to talk to Edgar, who was soon to pool hall with
other gentlemen.
Edgar reappeared, staggering, stumbling, just as the Duke has already
Irene Halford had not been Quarrington without leaving clear to the duke what
expected of him and what he intended to Tues
Thus, the Duke would not be possible to go lie down and deixla waiting for
him, without
their absence was taken as an insult.
Knowing how much she was experienced in the art of making love, not need to
worry about
not satisfy it. Outside this thought that made him decide to invite Irene to
come to
Still, a part of your mind of everything and hung remained attached to the
concerning Vina and Edgar Wallace.
When the Duke wished to return to her own room, Lady Irene
- Surely you do not want to leave me, do you?
- To be honest, I'm tired, I did not sleep well last night, I also think that
I let her rest.
- Be able to rest when you're not here she protested.
Even so, he freed his arms. Soon after closing the door softly and
start walking down the hall, no longer thought of Lady Irene. He saw a
shape like a ghost,
the dim light, softly going ahead.
He stopped short, unwilling to be seen, and wondered who it could be.
Only the most important guests slept on that side of the building, which
housed the suite
ducal, occupied by him.
Then noticed the picture on the front walk toward the end of the hall, then go
secondary to the stairs leading to other floors and turn right.
Following this path came to another hall, which led to the oldest wing of the

The Duke was surprised he unusual behavior at that late hour, and was curious.
He had intended to Lady Halford accommodation on the same floor of a ducal
obvious reasons, but most guests were in the east wing.
Then he remembered the three exceptions: the general and Lady Wallace, who, in
the current
circumstances, occupied the best rooms, and niece of them, Vina, who was
staying in the room next to the suite of his uncles.
Instinctively, he guessed it was Vina who had just disappeared, turning
right, for there came also the Tower of Despair.
Now wide awake, Duke wondered what it would
Possessing a vivid imagination, he remembered, suddenly, the story told to
Vina about the tower and related it with the strange look and he saw the pale
face of
beautiful young woman.
This was a warning that he could not ignore.
He passed quickly in front of the door of his quarters, reached the end of the
hall, turned
if, as he had the figure like a ghost, and followed by another corridor
the tower to the main building.
This corridor was merely a narrow and dark, lit only by moonlight
penetrated by tall, narrow windows, designed by architects
to match
the tower.
After the windows, the Duke knew very well that the only openings were those
who had
slits made for archers shoot arrows or darts.
The Duke was already halfway up the tower, and fortunately there was enough
light to
find the narrow stone staircase, spiral.
The stone stairway leading to the entrance of the tower, below the main floor
there was another, the
old dungeon where prisoners were held in the past.
There was no sign of Vina, and the Duke thought he was mistaken, as it moved
slowly and noiselessly, with his slippers on the stone steps already spent.
Vina should have fallen for the second ladder, however, why she do that in the
night escaped his understanding.

Upon reaching the top of the tower, the Duke saw that the door was open and
the moonlight came through it.
When pushed the door open to more, and, lowering his head, moved to the top,
assumption was confirmed. Vina was standing by the parapet of tracery
looking down at the remains of the moat.
Outside the father of the Duke who had built the side walls of the gap
strong enough to dam the water that came from a spring, which he also sent
When the level of water dammed increased, it was drained through pipe,
for the fields, not far from the house.
The Duke knew that what was left of the pit was very deep, and if someone is
foolish to shoot from the top of the tower, would undoubtedly be bruised and
drowned before
could be saved.
Outdoors, the Duke straightened. Bathed by the light of the moon and stars,
Vina used
only a slight negligee and her hair, which touched his shoulders, fluttered
with the
With one hand she held up on the ledge.
His looks so fragile and ethereal did assume that the duke,
this is one step ahead, it would disappear from his sight. Slowly, he
moved toward her, and to do so, said in a normal conversational tone.
- I figured that when he found the way to the tower, would see that here you
have the best view
spectacular surroundings.
Surprised by the sound of that voice, she turned to look
Duke. There was a look so desperate in her eyes that
He was scared.
Moving slowly to get close enough to hold it, if necessary, and forcing
a smile, he continued:
- I am sure you came here because he could not sleep, as I did as a kid.
She did not answer, instead, turned back his head and looked toward the water.
There was silence until the Duke back to say, quietly:
- It would be something wrong, a sin and a crime against life do such a thing!

He realized that she was contracted, and then, with a voice he could barely
hear it
- Maybe ... how prisoners who spoke ... there is no alternative. In any event
I can find any.
- Perhaps it would be easier if we talked about
She did not turn his head, the long haired mourned him part of the face, not
allowing the duke to see it clearly.
He imagined that she was listening, then said:
- One thing I learned in my life, however difficult things may seem, always
there is hope.
- I find it very optimistic.
- Once when I was in the army, the Sudan, we were besieged by a terrible and
fierce natives, after already exhausted our food and ammunition. They were
famous for not
keep prisoners then believed that within moments we'd all be dead.
He paused and then, almost reluctantly, Vina said:
- What happened?
- We were rescued at the last minute by a squad that had no idea that
was in the neighborhood.
- They had much luck! But for me there is hope of a squadron.
- How can you be so sure? You know very well that his father would not want to
know that
Miss is a coward.
She indireitou up and stared at him. By moonlight we noted the fury that had
those two big eyes.
- I am not a coward! Dying, I will go with Dad. He will understand.
- For everything you've heard about your father, I believe he would not give
up until the last second.
Vina looked at him, and he assumed she would continue arguing with him, but
she said,
a gesture that seemed terribly pathetic
- What can I do?
- We can talk about all this tomorrow, right? he suggested. I am convinced
together will find the solution. And, as I suspect, will have the help of his
For whatever reason the moonlight shone in her eyes when he said:

- If Dad were here, yes, he would help me.

- Actually is. He wants to be.
She looked at the duke, unwilling to believe what he heard.
Then with a voice that was no more than a whisper, she said:
- You're right! Of course you are right! It was a mistake to come to the Tower
of Despair!
- I should not have talked to you about it.
He held her hands, which had hitherto relied on the parapet.
Now we're here, look at the view. During the day one can see approximately
fifteen miles around. Must admit it's a splendid view!
Vina looked and said, surprised:
- The view is really wonderful!
It would have been impossible to say anything more, because the stars that
shone above their
heads and the moonlight that covered the world with a robe of silver filled
the heart of
Duke of a sense of unearthly beauty.
- Yes .. is too beautiful! Vina repeated, as if trying to convince himself of
what he saw and
at the same time, dazzled by so much beauty.
- It may be that, miss India, the lady had ceased to give a
chance to England?
- I had never seen anything so beautiful before!
- Maybe you have not already looked at this country closely, as it should. For
many in
especially for those who were living in the East of England represents peace
and security.
Even far away, these people can harbor such feelings comforting that the
follow wherever they are.
- I think my father felt that way sometimes.
- He hopes that the lady felt the same. There was silence, until the Duke
I would not wish that Miss catch cold, and I suppose it is better to go down,
but keep in memory what he saw here. This is England, in its most
- I. .. I'll try.
The Duke put his hand over hers and gently pulled the top toward the
Her hands were cold, but had a different vibe to them all that he
felt before.

He told himself that the most important was the fact that he saved her from
the Tower of Despair;
the next day could talk it all over calmly.
Maybe even find a solution to Edgar and Vina, although it does not occur in
He was sure that Lady Wallace to fight like a tiger by his niece,
bind to Quarrington.
If she knew what it meant to Vina do, simply call hysterical.
"I must find a way to help Vina," he thought to reach the staircase
The Duke stayed behind in order to close the door with the bolt. Vina down the
quickly, seeming to float, but he, having larger feet, was forced down more
slow down the narrow steps and build on the sides to keep from falling.
Finally, he reached the door leading to the passage, and to close it, Vina has
disappeared in the corridor.
Maybe she waited there, and he thought of asking him to go to your living
room, attached to
your room. Both could talk, and would be a great opportunity for him to
persuade her to be
reasonable in relation to her marriage to Edgar.
However, such an invitation at that time it seemed unconventional, in
Vina could hurt if he touched on the subject of marriage.
Upon arriving, however, the hall, found that Vina was already entering her
room. He had
urge to call her, but thought there would be lots of comments, if anyone's
There was a family room from the room of General Alexander and his niece, but
Duke thought it prudent not to risk going back to Vina.
Also, if she did not want to talk to him, ought not to insist. It was the
As one woman avoided.
He walked to his room thinking about what happened. Everything was so amazing
it cost him to believe that really happened.
No doubt that Vina is shoot the gap, and if this had happened, it would take
long time until they could find her body. It would be a terrible and

Some-so avoided fate, but he knew that the problem itself remained.
If Vina felt so desperate to the point of wanting to kill herself to avoid
with Edgar, how could agree
with what? What could I do to prevent such a union?
"Can I give money to Edgar, as he wants, but for
Furthermore, the fact remains Vina be so rich, and the same
thing can happen to you again. The is no shortage of
the hunting skills. "
Moreover, the Duke was absolutely sure that lady would not give up Wallace
It was with great effort that the Duke went to bed.
Two hours later, still could not sleep, considering possibilities for
solve the problem before him.
"What should I do? What, what the hell, I can do?"
There was no response.
All I saw in front of Vina was sitting at the dinner table with an expression
frightened the pale face.
Vina woke up. Strange as it seemed, slept soundly. Regretted not
having earlier agreed to go riding without meeting with any of the guest
He decided to go to church.
Vina and her father had prayed in temples of different religions: Hindu,
Buddhist and
Muslim mosques, in northern India, had been a stranger to monasteries
inhabited by Tibetan monks.
Her mother had taught him that no matter where people pray, the prayer was in
worth, and the deeper would the soul, the more valuable.
The maid informed that there Vina office of Holy Communion at eight o'clock,
and that
certainly would not find anyone in the house church, for being so early.
Vina strapped under the chin ribbons colored pink hat and put a shawl over her
Once the maid knew she was going out, sent a message to the barn and a

open it was then provided.

Vina As expected, there was nobody to accompany her to the old church, which
located near the gate of the park.
There were very few people to participate in the craft, and Vina assumed that
most of them
came from the village.
The sacristan saw him coming from the mansion, led her to the bank that richly
stood in the chancel and was restricted to persons of Quarrington.
There too he was a chair like a throne
headed by a reading stand.
Vina realized that this was the place reserved for the Duke.
She knelt on a stool, upholstered in red velvet and asked God to
help them escape from Lord Edgar, also asked his uncle not forced to marry
a man who loathed.
Vina prayed before beginning the religious service, trying, through the
beautiful words of your
prayer, find the solution to your problem.
Like an answer, she felt the night before had been guilty of
very serious, and that would be a great mistake to try to do it again.
Was saddened to think that his father, as the Duke said, would be ashamed
the procedure of the daughter, and then apologized to him and God, who
received life.
Returning to Quarrington, Vina was still struggling with the same question,
which still
circling in his mind.
"How can I live if it is forced to marry Lord Edgar?"
Great was the surprise guest to learn that Vina was late for breakfast
morning by going to church.
- I know, of all people in the group, the only one who has no sins to confess
You said one of her gentlemen.
- I wish that were true she said. He smiled, gallant.
- Tell me, Miss. Wallace, what's your most constant sin? Not to be vanity, I
it seems unaware of her beauty.
Vina knew it was a compliment, and then replied modestly:
- My sins are private ... like yours. The friends laughed, and jokingly, one
- Not so private as well, Harry! But we do not disclose.

- I would be very upset if I did! I want srta.H Wallace think of me as a
intrepid knight, ready to defend it against all enemies.
The guys laughed again, while Vina thought there would be a paladin can
to save her from the dragon that had the face of Lord Edgar.
This, coincidentally, had just entered the room.
She stood up, and seeing that he intended to go, Lord Edgar was ahead of her
and opened the door
to let her pass.
Vina thanked him without looking at him and then saw that Lord Edgar followed
her down the hall.
- I want to talk to the lady.
- There is nothing to be said.
- I have much to say, and insist that I listen.
Vina knew it was impossible to escape without attracting the attention of the
two servants who were
service in the hall.
Then he walked beside him down the hall to a living room where she had never
state before.
It was a cozy room, decorated with Louis XIV-style furniture, the walls had
paintings by Fragonard and Boucher.
She had dry lips and his heart was beating strongly, scared.
Once Edgar closed the door, lifted her chin Vina, determined not to be
Feeling bad that her legs supported the body sat upright in a chair.
As she predicted, Edgar stood before him, with his back to the fireplace.
First he said in a voice totally different from what he used in
- I feel I should apologize.
- No. .. please ...
He continued, as if he had not heard:
- I had no idea until the lady told me that the deal arranged between Alveric
his uncle had not had their approval.
Vina remained silent, and he continued so weighted:
- What he said must have been a shock to the lady.
- Yes .. was! Vina murmured. I had no idea what was the reason of having been
invited to this weekend in Quarrington.
There was silence, and Edgar continued:
- Now that took the time to understand what was planned, I hope you see things

different, and maybe we can make our marriage a relative success.
Vina shook hands so strongly that he felt pain, then said in a voice
- I know that is what my uncles want to happen, but it's impossible to get
with a man who does not love you!
- He gave me the same answer yesterday, but should not ignore the fact that
weddings are always
arranged within the aristocracy.
The pause made by Lord Edgar after the word "aristocracy" Vina did notice that
he almost
said: "And even among people like you," not to judge it as important as
It was an insult, but on the other hand, acknowledged that he struggled to be
and that there was a deliberate offense at her words.
What Edgar could not understand was that Vina did not marry him in any way.
- What I am suggesting is that you accept the inevitable, without
recrimination, and try your best
of ....
Again he paused, and, reading her thoughts, she knew he would say: "The
best of a bad deal. "However, he added:
The best ... for both of us.
Lord Edgar glanced inquiring for Vina, and she saw that for the first time, he
noted as a person and consider its strengths. But his attitude was very
similar to that of a man inspecting a horse before buying it.
- And, as you are young and have always lived in the countryside, I am sure
you have fun a lot in
London. We have a big house, bigger than I possess at the time, it
you can get your friends.
- I have no friends in London.
With a slightly wry smile, Lord Edgar said:
- This will be remedied as soon as it passes to belong to my family.
Again there was silence. Then he said, as if it prevailed in its
What we have to do is announce our engagement. Since become public, not
will need to be our wedding such a hurry, as I suggested yesterday.
Vina took a deep breath. She knew that if their marriage would be announced

discover that she was very rich. Then the creditors would be likely to Edgar
wait for the money he owed them.
She realized that Edgar had planned everything very well, and if it had not
done alone, would
heard advice from someone smarter than him.
He premeditara everything, and it should fall into the trap, very little could
be done to
extricate himself from it.
Though scared and barely able to breathe, Vina felt the presence of his father
advising her, then managed to say in a voice that seemed controlled:
- As all this was a surprise, my lord, I would be very grateful if you give me
time to think. And I suppose that is not appropriate to talk about it with
my uncles, to talk again.
She noted that Edgar had a sort of sigh, to be sure of winning. In
Then he replied, sounding too eager:
- Of course, if that's what you want, Miss. Wallace, or should chamla nelo
first name? What
else could do but agree? he smiled. How do I know that will leave tomorrow,
Miss can give me an answer there, and of course
then we'll talk with my brother and his uncle, before lunch.
- Yes .. we can do this.
Lord Edgar drew so near that for a moment, she shuddered at the thought that
might want to kiss her. Rising, he said, hurriedly:
- Please ... can we keep it a secret until then? I think, before that, it
would be
a mistake to stay here alone.
She did not wait for the response and advanced to the door. Vina was about to
leave when Edgar suggested:
- We'll talk then tomorrow, before breakfast, right here in this room. Is
- Yes She felt he could not say any more. She ran upstairs and was
walking in the hallway when he met his uncle, who was drinking coffee.
- Good morning, Uncle Alexander she said, kissing his cheek.
- Good morning, Vina! I'm worried about being late.
- Oh, do not worry, there are still a lot of coffee for you she said, trying
to smile.

- I think your aunt is willing to talk to you the general said to start down
the stairs.
Vina went to his room. The last thing he wanted now was a
conversation with Aunt Marjory.
In the afternoon the day before her aunt had come to his room, and finding it
closed, imagined that
she was asleep.
Vina avoided skillfully speak to Lady Wallace before dinner. At night the aunt
returned to
search for his niece in his room, but found the room dark, and, realizing
Vina who was asleep, silently left the room, closing the door carefully.
"I can not talk to her. When I told you that I still have not decided about
Edgar, there will be a terrible scene, "Vina thought.
If Lady Wallace knew that his niece would speak the next morning with Lord
would be unable to maintain secrecy
and, inevitably, comment with the other ladies, and maybe even with the Duke.
"I must avoid this at all costs."
Vina, however, did not go into his room, waited his uncle away, down the back
stairs and went to the library, where he met some books and went to the
Deep down there was a comfortable sofa, and she was sure it could not be seen,
Unless someone came into the library and looked carefully up.
She opened a book, thinking that would keep out of sight of all to lunch.
But first, the printed words did not held the attention.
The only thing I could see in the pages of the book was the unpleasant side of
Vina did not want to miss with Christian charity, but had to admit that Edgar
was an avid
others for money and that he positively disliked her because of being designed
be his wife.
When he spoke so deliberately calm and rational, she noticed the
effort that he did, thinking that, after all, the sacrifice would be worth it
if you could put
hands on her fortune.
Even having seen Edgar drive you a smile, Vina knew he was as

intrigued by it as the day before, had been shocked when he saw how his
approach to
Vina thought that everything was related to him was unpleasant, and was
who became his wife, he would treat in the most infamous.
"Daddy, what can I do?" He asked himself with a desperate fear.
She found in the library for a long time when suddenly the door was opened and
someone entered.
Vina sank a little more on the sofa to ensure that where he was could not be
view. Then he heard the voice of Edgar, biting:
- We can talk here. Whatever I say?
- It would be wise to make sure that we will not be heard.
The voice was an older man, who was introduced as Sir Robert Warde, and
Vina front of whom stayed for dinner.
She noted that Sir Robert, and the whole time flirting with a lady sitting
next to
it also had drunk too much.
- You know well what I tell you he said to Edgar. His debt of ten thousand
pounds already won there
long, and I suppose you do not want me to appeal to his brother, is not it?
Lord Edgar gave a nasty laugh.
- I think you're smart enough, Robert, to get an idea of why that girl,
Mlle. Vina Wallace, have been included among our guests.
After a short pause, Sir Robert said:
- Good heavens! We were talking in the smoking room with respect to this young
woman has inherited
a huge fortune ... You do not mean that you will marry her?
- But of course I will! I would be a great fool to let slip an opportunity
- My dear boy, I had no idea! It is the same as rich as they say?
- An Indian prince left the father of Miss. Wallace few million, he died, and
only daughter inherited all!
- So I have to congratulate you! Never thought it was clever enough
to accept to marry a rich heiress who take it away from their grips.
- For what I intend to do! And of course, so the knot is tied, you will
receive everything
what you owe, and creditors are harassing me! His voice sounded harsh and

- Do not go now want to change their attitude, Edgar. We know each other a
long time, and I
I have been a good friend.
- Not intend to discuss it!
- When you receive your golden rupees, I hope you do not forget old friends.
- I would not do such a thing, and I can assure you, Robert, that everything
will continue as before.
- Well, Connie will be very happy!
- But know that I will give the most splendid diamond which once had a
- And his wife? What say?
- I will give her a lot of babies that will keep busy.
The two men laughed heartily.
- If there's one thing you can always, Edgar, is in one way or another, be
free of
their problems.
- And this time with more success! As you will receive the interest that you
owe, we
have a drink!
- I'm very happy with it, and do not forget to invite me to the first and most
noisy party that goes after the wedding, I mean, if your wife does not want to
be the
- Connie will host! And you can bring Lulu, or if you prefer, choose one of
the most
splendid worldly. I will gather all the "doves tainted" as you can.
- Exactly what I expected to hear! Now, boy, let's get to drink!
Still laughing, the two men left the library.
In the face of Vina was printed the same wild-eyed that the Duke had noticed
the night
She now knew who was Connie, because about a month before, entering silently
in the living room of the general, heard Lady Farrington said to her aunt:
- I am saying that Lord Edgar is spending a fortune, he does not,
with one of those actresses who appear in the Olympic Theatre.
- It's the same horrors with whom he spent the past year?
- No! Connie Cortney was under the protection of the Earl of Hastings, an old
although, of course, is very rich. Now it appears that Lord Edgar led her to
leave the old. The parties he organizes for aatriz are more outrageous than

the orgies attributed to

They both laughed, but Vina, thinking such nasty comments, back softly
to another room where I could read.
"How could I allow my money was spent with women like this?"
Vina thought of the starving children of India. I knew from the papers that
England also
was filled with people living in absolute poverty.
Considered an insult to the memory of his father let the fortune left to him
dilapidated that way outrageous.
"How can I prevent it? What can I do?"
Found no response.
After a while, unable to read, put the books back on the shelf where the
had taken, and slightly out of the house through a side door, went into the
As the duke had to recognize the night before the vicinity of Quarrington were
very beautiful.
Besides the breathtaking countryside in the distance, there were bushes, which
bloom in the garden, the daffodils under the trees and verdant lawns, which
ended in a water mirror.
A small waterfall is spread out over the rocks, ending in a huge tank, which
very soon be covered with water lilies.
It was beautiful! Really beautiful!
Being hot, unprecedented at the time of the year, she walked under the trees,
realizing they had left no hat and no shawl.
The buttons that were blooming in the trees gave a special beauty to the
scenery, and Vina
thought, there a month or even less, the garden was stunning, fully flowered
a true scene of fairy tales.
So, with great regret, he remembered that when this happened,
'Would already be married
with a contemptible man, whom he hated.
A revolt within made her shudder at the idea of being a wife
"Save me, my God, save me!"
She addressed this appeal to the trees, the flowers that grew at his feet, and

the distant landscape

wonderful that was enchanted by the moon the night before.
Suddenly it was as if he heard his father's voice, and knew exactly what he
should do.
- Surely he talked to Vina at this point, no? Lady Wallace asked her husband.
They were separated from the group to leave the dining room and headed for the
Lady Wallace spoke quietly, but the general showed nervousness, fear of
be heard.
- There is no hurry he said.
- Yes, but tomorrow will be gone, and once they are engaged, there is much to
discussed with the dear Duke.
The general refrained from answering, because at that moment the Duke came
- I was wondering, Lady Wallace, what you and your husband would want to do
later. I do not know whether they would or already have seen, the gallery of
paintings, or perhaps
prefer a horse ride.
- I'm waiting to hear what you want to make my niece Lady Wallace said in a
very sweet tone.
The Duke looked around and found that Vina had disappeared.
Edgar talked to two gentlemen, and of course, the conversation should be very
fun, because I was laughing.
- I do not want any of my guests do not appreciate anything, and perhaps most
wise in such circumstances is leave them alone.
- Oh, no, sire! I'm sure everyone wants to accompany him exclaimed Lady
Wallace flattering.
- Well, I'm going to the stable said the duke, and in an instant was at Irene
beside him.
- Dear Alveric! It will take me for a ride in a carriage? Or we could have a
warm conversation in my family room?
- Sorry, Irene, but I pay attention to my guests. I could go with you, but
I think it would not be right all the time we get together, like yesterday.
Irene Halford gestured pout and said in a voice soft and seductive grin, which
he knew so well:

- I will rest and you will join me as soon as he possibly can, yes?
The Duke knew exactly what that meant, but simply replied:
- Yes, Irene, I will as soon as possible, but do not want to lose the
reputation as a good host.
The duke departed from her, which is managed with great difficulty not to tap
their feet.
When the Duke had invited for the weekend, Irene was confident that would
madly in love, as lord Halford would be absent.
However, now had no doubt that he appeared to be elusive, and did not like
none of it.
Upon arriving to the party, Lady Halford noted that it would rival. The other
ladies were
accompanied by their husbands, or they were too insignificant to compete with
her beauty, intelligence and spirit.
"I cativarei indeed! The Duke is a gentleman, is nice and adorable! I will
any woman who dares to try to take it from me, "Irene thought.
Vina returned to the library again, judging by their own experience that had
morning, it would be unlikely to find anyone there. It might be entered in
library, would not see.
Picking up again the books I had separated earlier, went with them
spiral staircase, reached the gallery and sat in the same place where he stood
in the morning.
As has already made an important decision, Vina could
concentrate on reading.
About an hour later, did not hear the library door opened, or
realized that someone had climbed up to the gallery, and suddenly saw the
Duke, standing in front of you.
- I thought Miss was hidden here!
- How did you guess?
- I know who likes to read, and I assumed he wanted to be alone.
- His books are very interesting!
- I was sure would appreciate them. Now, suppose that we can have that little
conversation, as I promised last night.
He did not sit beside her, as it would get a little tight, and, instead, sat
the floor and leaned against one of the shelves, feet stretched, touching the
railing of
Vina was surprised by this gesture, which the Duke made him look less imposing

and more
human. While it noted, was not unaware of what he intended.
- Last night Miss scared me, and only when I left, much earlier than
I waited, I realized I had not made her promise me to never try to repeat that
gesture. I'm hoping that now give me your word of honor.
- As I said, I do not want to be a coward she said tentatively.
- In this case, swear to me, for all the things you believe in, no more
attempt against his
- I swear she said quietly that I did not shoot the Tower of Despair!
Flashed through the mind of the Duke that there were other ways to commit
suicide. But he
knew it would be a mistake, press Vina, and contented himself with his word.
- We could now talk about your future? Again there was a pause, then Vina
- You could leave this subject for tomorrow? I'm trying to think logically, as
Dad taught me. All this was a shock to me and still can not analyze the
situation calmly.
She spoke as if trying to measure his words, and
After a moment, the Duke said:
- Believe that I consider very smart and unusual, in fact, I find it a
extraordinary young man.
She felt a note of sincerity in his voice that made her blush. Then he asked:
- Would it be possible, while everyone is busy, I ride Hercules again by ...
She stopped, and the Duke had the feeling that she would say: "... the last
He told himself it would be a great mistake to continue to do you any
at that particular moment when I thought she was beginning to think about the
possibility of
accept the marriage to Edgar. Smiling, the Duke replied:
- I suppose we can be smart and escape through the side door, which will show
you just
it is ready. No one will know where we were, and despite being a great
sacrifice of
my part, I will allow him to build Hercules.
Vina's eyes sparkled: she gave a short laugh and cheerful, like a child who
promises to be something very special.
The Duke rose and the two went down the gallery.
Assuming that would be seen to cross the hall, the Duke Vina led to the first

floor, the stairs secondary.

He combined where they meet. Both would fall apart, for anyone suspicious
they would ride together.
After the grooms have sealed two horses in record time, both followed
to the meadows beyond the paddock.
The Duke rode a stallion almost as magnificent as Hercules, but older,
more docile and trained to respond to every wish of its owner, who used to
ride it there
two years.
As for Hercules, she was indomitable as ever. But this time the duke was
confident that Vina could control it.
He also thought it would be impossible for any woman look more fascinating
she, with her figure smoothly, driving a huge animal like that. Also noted
her eyes shining like stars of happiness.
That look was totally different from the frightened look that so upset him in
the night
After an hour, the duke said:
- Should return home.
Vina seemed suddenly serious, and had a dream note in his voice when he said:
- Yesterday, when I was here I thought I would come back, but ... wished I
could ride to
always, to the distant horizon ... where there were no problems or
- It occurred to him that, without them, maybe life will seem dull and boring?
You got me
said he was bored in England, it may be that this happens not to have found a
He was trying to make the wedding it seemed an exciting thing. But
to be honest, I knew that living with Edgar would be a living hell for someone
sensitive as Vina.
"I must save it," he thought.
At that moment he realized that Vina looked at him with an expression
dish and before he could detla, saw it from a gallop toward a very high
who had already jumped when Hercules had set up the first time.
- No, Vina! No! he said sharply, but it was too late.
Vina had overcome that obstacle and Hercules impeliao confident about the

there was nothing they could do the duke, and then the rider and animal.
Only after having implemented the third fence, she asked in a voice almost
and particularly lovely:
- He was angry with me?
- No, I'm just stunned.
- Because I can control or that Hercules had the nerve to challenge him?
- For two reasons. However, I recognize that my fear for their safety is
How did you learn to ride so perfectly?
- Dad and I were riding by some very strange places, and several times in
found in unpleasant situations, which we had to escape across the
country without maps or compasses.
- His father was very proud of you.
- Last night you told me that I should not do anything that he disapproved.
- I am more than sure that he wished that Miss was courageous and was
ready to face any enemy with determination and courage.
In saying this, the Duke wished that his words do not sound like a sermon.
Vina did not answer, and if I have not touched on the subject, the duke found
that the
convecera that marriage with Edgar would be a challenge for her.
Both quietly trotted back to the stable.
The grooms were waiting for them, and when Vina dismounted, patted Hercules,
kissing him on the nose.
- Goodbye! The duke heard her whisper.
He imagined, as they walked toward the side door, if there was any hidden
that farewell. But sought to reassure himself, telling himself that he was
imaginative too.
That could mean goodbye, a separation of only a few hours or perennial, up to
- Thank you, Your Highness she said to reach the rungs of the ladder side.
Thank you for
wonderful experience, I will never forget!
The duke did not reply, and she went up the small staircase almost running.
He followed her with his eyes until it disappears from sight.
So, while giving back to enter the house through the front door, wondered if a
Again, what he would do to save her marriage to Edgar.

At dinner the duke Vina noted that the gentleman was talking animatedly with
side. He also noted that she seemed much happier than it had been the night
Edgar also seemed more humorous.
The duke assumed, suddenly, they could have made a secret arrangement, but the
same time, this idea seemed to him impossible.
He had no chance to talk after dinner with Vina. She was not playing the piano
disappeared almost like a ghost.
Realizing that Lady Wallace was very upset with the disappearance of her
Duke sat down beside her on the sofa while the other guests to be accommodated
table games.
- Do not know why Vina proved so elusive, unless, of course, that is with his
Lady Wallace said.
The Duke looked around and saw that Edgar had also disappeared.
He did not doubt, however, that Edgar had gone back to the pool hall,
where he spent more time drinking than playing.
However, thinking that would be a mistake to enter the field of confidences
with Lady Wallace,
- There are a lot of time to talk about Edgar and Vina. Let me find one for
good place at table games.
He spoke as if it were an order, and Lady Wallace dutifully sat down to play
bridge with three other guests
Curious, the Duke went to the pool hall to see if Edgar was there, and found
that not
His brother looked at the partner making a move, and holding a bat in one hand
and a
glass of wine in the other.
Without his presence was noted, the Duke returned to the parlor, only to
found that there was no sign of Vina.
For the rest of the night Irene Halford refused to abandon its host, this

thought, when
said good night to the general, who looked at him reproachfully Lady Wallace.
"There's nothing I can do, and, in one way or another, something will be
before their departure. "
However, the Duke was very surprised when Robert Ward, who climbed the ladder
behind him, stopped at the first level, saying:
- I am very pleased to hear the news about Edgar, and you should be delighted!
The duke frowned, but not surprised to come to know through another
the brother who had already spoken with Miss. Wallace about marriage. This was
Edgar typical.
The Duke did not know Sir Robert Ward very well, but had found in some
races, and invited him for the weekend to be a good bridge player.
In fact, had talked at White's Club, when the Duke was planning the party.
Sir Robert, obviously waiting for a reply, and the Duke said, after a moment:
- I guess anything that my brother has told you has not yet been discussed in
family and is secret.
- I hope it's true, because, here between us, Quarrington, Edgar owes me a
sum, and I'll be very happy to have her back.
There was something in the voice of Sir Robert did the Duke assumed that the
guest, considering
generous, wanted to get into the good
by the host. But he decided to no longer invite to their parties.
- Good evening, Sir Robert! I want to receive your money.
- Of course!
Sir Robert Ward would have prolonged the conversation, but the Duke walked
quickly through the
hallway toward his room.
For some inexplicable reason, have not visited that night Irene Halford,
despite knowing that
it would be extremely upset and disturbed by his absence.
But he had no desire to make love to her, wanted to think about Edgar and
Through his experience with women, Alveric knew that once in love, they
threw discretion to the wind, then locked the door of his room.
Before going to bed, unveiled the curtains and stared at the stars and the
moonlight, which made the surroundings seen from the tower is transformed into

a charming country
Alveric tried in vain not to think about the moment he saw Vina looking for
gap and realized that she intended to throw himself into it.
If Vina commit such folly and was missing the next morning, he would never
imagined that she had been able to do something so unbelievable, so tragic!
He shuddered to think about it.
Vina was young, so beautiful, and fabulously rich!
"Most people would say she has everything a woman could want in the world."
Then the Duke remembered her brother, who, despite his good looks, it was so
and debauched. He could imagine what Vina felt about Edgar.
That afternoon, when spoken to her in the gallery of the library, the terror
was gone from
their eyes. He had noticed it a great calm that has not shown before.
But Alveric be bothered by feeling that something escaped him. He hated to
look stupid,
it prided itself on its ability to understand people and their accurate
Therefore, hardly disappointed.
Rearranging the thoughts, he became convinced there was something vital that
grasped and that could explain the attitude of Vina.
If it were really true that Sir Robert had told him that she wanted, after
all, marry
Edgar, why she had entrusted to his decision?
Alveric was calculating whether there had been any chance of Edgar and Vina
have to
found before dinner. In conclusion, after all, that all this concern was
If things were going according to plans of General and Lady Wallace, why
should be tormented? But he realized that this mystery does not allow him to
Finally, when dawn came, he fell into a restless sleep and woke
startled, almost seven o'clock.
Only then remembered that its not recommended that the wake created earlier.
then go into his room half an hour.
Without being able to stay in bed, feeling agitated by the same problems that

kept awake almost all night, the Duke rose.
After unlocking the door and rang the bell for Hodgson, his servant, who
was with him, as John Simpson, from the time the army.
They had fought together many times, and on one occasion nearly died.
had a great affinity between them, unlike the usual relationship between
employer and
The Duke had showered, shaved and already dressed when Hodgson came into the
- Your Highness got up early!
- Yes, Hodgson, is a beautiful morning, and I want to ride. He thought that if
Vina had
gone to the barn as early as Saturday morning, at that
hours should be as far away from home. But
yet surely find.
Dandy in his sport coat and boots so that gleamed like a polished
mirror Alveric apressamente walked down the aisle. When he passed the door of
Vina quarters, hesitated.
He wondered if he should hit. Perhaps she had overslept. Will
I would ride with him?
It saw a letter on exquisite French dresser that stood in the hallway near the
Vina doors of rooms where he stayed.
Noting that the letter was addressed to himself, opened it immediately,
reading the
containing two sheets of paper:
"Please do not be angry with me, but I can not marry Lord Edgar.'ll Know
keep the promise you made, and will not be a coward. However, he could not
someone who did not love and could not come to love someday.
For this reason, I will stay with friends who take care of me.
Please do not let Uncle Alexander try to find me, and have the enclosed letter
be delivered to my lawyers.
Thank you for your kindness and for having allowed me to mount Hercules. Never
forget, never forget how Quarrington.
Vina. "
The Duke sighed, then read the second page:
"Redbridge Messrs. Robinson and Metcalfe
Dear sirs:

Please, please pay to Lord Edgar Quary the importance of fifty thousand
His Highness the Duke of Quarrington, will make it clear that it is my desire
My intention is not to be challenged by my tutor, General Sir Alexander
Vina Wallace. "
The Duke put the two cards in his pocket and went down the stairs.
He sent a servant responsible for seeking the guard during the night, which
left the hall, and ordered the maid, who was at that time cleaning the
fireplace, which
John Simpson were to call.
The Duke came into his office, where he re-read the two letters. Then he asked
the servant to
just arrived:
You service was last night?
Yes, Your Highness.
- See Miss. Vina Wallace?
- Yes, Your Highness.
- Tell me exactly what happened.
- Miss. Vina came downstairs at about four o'clock, Your Highness.
- What did she do then?
- He asked me to go to the stable ordering a carriage that waited at the door
side. I did everything she asked me, Your Highness.
- Yes .. yes ... Of course. And then what happened?
- Well .. After I did that, she asked to bring her things down. There were two
- Miss. Wallace traveled alone?
- Yes, Your Highness.
- Where did it go?
- I think for the season, sire.
- The station? the Duke asked, surprised.
- Yes, Your Highness.
At the time Simpson got rushed to the office. He obviously does not
was fully clothed when he was called urgently to the duke.
- He told me to call, Your Highness? He asked, apprehensive, seeing the night
- You can go now, James, do not tell anyone what happened, you know? Keep it

for you!
- Yes, Your Highness!
The door closed behind him, and looked at John Simpson
insitivamente for Duke, who said incisively:
- Vina Wallace fled! At four o'clock she ordered James to fetch a carriage
and went to the station.
- So it must have taken the train of milk!
- Milk Train?
- It is so named because it takes the milk from several farms in the
neighborhood and reaches London
a little after six.
The Duke looked at the clock on the mantel and asked:
- Where could she go? She told me she had no friends in London.
- I suppose that Lady Wallace might know.
- The last thing you want right now is that Wallace knows what happened! said
Duke in a firm tone.
John Simpson nodded.
- Maybe Miss. Wallace is trying to find a place to stay.
- What do you mean?
- Before dinner I heard her ask a servant to fetch the Times on Saturday. I
a strange young man became interested in newspapers.
- The Times said the Duke thoughtfully. Send the maid who took care of her to
come talk to me, and
- Try all means to avoid whispering about it.
- I think it's impossible! grumbled John Simpson to leave the room.
The maid came in very nervous two minutes after the departure of Simpson. Once
closed the
office door, bowed to the Duke and said, fearful:
- Your Highness need me?
- Are you Gladys, is not it?
- Yes, Your Highness.
- Tell me, Gladys, you know why Miss. Wallace had to leave us
so early this morning.
- I do not know, Your Highness. It was a shock to me when I walked into her
room this morning and did not see
Miss nor his

- She got the luggage alone?

- Oh, no, sire! She told me last night that arrumasse the chests before
bedtime, because
was possible that his uncles wanted to leave right after breakfast.
- So she took all her things.
- Yes, Your Highness. Two chests and caskets.
The Duke was not surprised by that. It was unlikely that any woman to leave
back as magnificent as the jewelry he had seen Lady Irene Wallace show and two
He was the breakfast room and the ladies were looking at jewelry in a way
greedy, putting the rings on his fingers and bracelets on her wrists,
Although not particularly interested, two beautiful pieces caught the
attention of
Duke: a necklace with a bracelet and a large emerald surrounded by diamonds.
He also noted that there were rubies worth enough to rescue a king.
Alveric thought, skeptically, that most women give their bodies and souls
any man who offered them such treasures.
- Vina is a very lucky girl! Lady Wallace said.
The Duke had moved, not like the eagerness he felt in her voice and face of
I knew that sooner or later feel the latter would be entitled to be
with jewels like the love you gave to him. That thought made him feel that at
the core
their hearts, all the women were prostitutes.
The skeptical expression deepened on his face, and he went in search of fresh
Passed to him by the mind that Vina was traveling alone and could have serious
Noting that Gladvs was still waiting, he asked:
- Miss. Wallace did not leave anything in your room?
- Nothing. The room was empty except for a book
about India that Miss. Wallace was reading when I arranged for the evening
- This is everything, Gladys. Thank you. Ask Mr.. Between Simpson.
He knew that John Simpson was waiting outside, to understand what was most

appropriate that the Duke spoke to the servants without his presence.
Once entered Simpson, the Duke asked:
- What time does the next train to London? John looked at his watch.
- There will be one for an hour or so.
- I will take this train! Provide enough money, my passport and the Times on
- Your passport? the secretary exclaimed in surprise, but the duke had already
reached the door and not the
In his room he found the Duke Hodgson, who, knowing the love enjoyed
efficiency, had arranged everything in two suitcases. So they both went to the
I expected the side door and left without anyone to observe.
- Do not talk about the incident said the duke to John Simpson, except with
the general and Lady
Wallace, but make them swear to keep secret. Tell Edgar minimized. Not
I want him to start saying nonsense.
- I wish, sincerely, that your highness is right in his assumption as to where
Mlle. Wallace would have gone.
- Once you get to London I know.
When the duke's carriage had already gone from sight, John Simpson entered the
thinking I would take great care that the news was not walking in front.
The Duke was traveling on the express train which is only held in Quarrington
stop when
a signal was activated by people who wanted to embark. Then there was
no stopping until you reach Paddington.
There was no time to arrange for the carriage of the Duke himself was waiting
for the station, and Hodgson took a cab fairly quickly,
who crossed over London
was faster than expected.
At the station Fenchurch Duke was informed that the train had gone to the
two hours, but there would be other within forty-five minutes.
The Duke had read the last page of the Times on Saturday that one of the ships
of the line
Peninsular and Oriental Navigation Tilbury leave that day.
This ship would leave with the tide in the afternoon, the tide and time
varying. If the Duke was lucky,
maybe he could embark.

His strong intuition told him that Vina was aboard the SS Magnificent. He
that India meant a lot to her.
Vina had promised him not to destroy life itself, and the output they found
out the flight.
How much she loved India and its people, would feel safe there.
Having your jewelry to keep it, thought there would be no weight to those who
could support. Undoubtedly Vina could afford anything he wanted.
However, it was inconceivable that a girl so beautiful could travel alone at
the mercy of
unexpected and may encounter serious problems.
If you discover that she took those priceless jewels, would certainly be
Thinking of the fear in his eyes had seen before, the Duke felt that the train
which carried
to Tilbury was annoyingly slow.
On the other hand, if it fails and intuition Vina was not on board the SS
when reached, what should he do?
"Oh God, if I'm wrong, where else can procurla?" He thought with dismay,
imagine that inexperienced girl walking alone in London.
Arriving at Tilbury, jumped from the train before the train to a complete
Hodgson left in charge of the baggage, ran counter to the new company P. & O.
Liners, which was the entrance to the docks.
- I want to board the SS Magnificent Duke said an official.
- It seems that just lost the ship, sir.
The Duke looked out the window and saw that a sailor was just dropping cables
bollards of the ship, and knew that within minutes of the boards
shipment would be pulled on board.
Throwing a lot of bills on the counter, he said:
I need to achieve that ship. Duke ran off, followed by Hodgson and two porters with suitcases in
a cart.
They reached the board at the time she began to be raised.
With great effort the Duke, Hodgson and baggage could be on board. Seconds
then the ship began to move.
Many passengers leaned out over the railing to watch that shipment
unusual, but the Duke knew Vina would not be among those curious, and if,

could do nothing to escape him.

Almost breathless, Duke climbed a ladder and was the company's office to speak
steward, remembering, then deck used to travel incognito. Avoided using
the title of duke on his travels, not to encourage journalists and gossip.
Seeing himself before the flight attendant, a large man, fat and very kind,
Duke presented himself as lord Elverton, which actually was one of their
- Why not embark on a whisker! said the Commissioner.
- Only at the last moment I knew that my trip was urgent he replied
grandeur. I want to take the best accommodations at its disposal.
The Duke knew that in P. & O. Liners were not suites, but also knew, longtime
how a person could travel comfortably if I could pay for it.
He managed the two largest and best unoccupied cabins, and determined to
to transform them into a living room.
He also obtained a cabin next to his creation. Then, casually, said:
- I could look at the passenger list?
- Yes, my lord! But there are two passengers who, like yourself, were late,
names were not included in the list.
- Two?
The commissioner smiled.
- One is an Egyptian gentleman who let us in Alexandria, and another ...
He looked at the table, as if searching by name, and Duke held his breath.
It seemed that an eternity had passed, when the commissioner, after all, found
the paper and
- The other is Miss. Vina Wallace, who is traveling alone.
The Duke continued to hold the passenger list, disguising the relief. He was
because his intuition failed and had not been able to reach Vina.
After having supervised the arrangement of rooms, Hodgson began to undo the
bags. Alveric accommodated comfortably and when asked should approach
Miss. Wallace. I knew it would be a mistake to do that next.
Perhaps frightened by his presence.
"And if she shoot the sea?"
After all, she had sworn not to play the Tower of Despair, but promised to
give up

idea of killing otherwise.

"I have to do everything very carefully and very intelligent. Maybe I can
persuade her
to leave the ship in Gibraltar, then we could return to England by sea, or
land, who knows? "
The Duke dined in your living room, then retired to the room, thinking about
have happened in Quarrington, after John Simpson had spoken with the general
Lady Wallace on the trail of his niece.
While waiting anxiously for the next day, his plans were thwarted by a
storm with strong winds that blew all night.
The Magnificent rocked and played SS when crossing the Channel, and when
reached the Bay of Biscay, it was impossible for passengers to move around.
Despite being a good sailor, the duke was not so foolish as to risk breaking a
arm or a leg doing indiscretions. It was, therefore, comfortably installed,
instructing Hodgson, who was a master of espionage, to find out what could
about Vina through the chamberlains.
Hodgson returned with the information that Vina was in a cabin not far from
occupied by the Duke. The steward said she spent her time reading in bed.
During the three days following the storm persisted. Hodgson heard that Vina
very comfortable and had not spoken to anyone. Just asked for more books.
- There are books on board?
The Duke thought that reading was something that he never remembered to do on
your travels.
- There are some in the library that is down the hall. Apparently, there are
not many
Passengers interested in them at the moment!
Hodgson had given the Duke a vivid description of most people on board.
When he approached Gibraltar, the Duke thought it was time to
Vina find and talk to her.
After an excellent breakfast, I thought maybe I could get a tour of the
deck as the sea was calmer. Hodgson came to tell him that Miss. Wallace had
his cabin early, but was already back.
The Duke realized he had lost the opportunity to see it, and it annoyed him.
Going around the deck, feeling good about exercising and feeling that air

pleasant, despite the cold wind.

Most passengers found on deck
it seemed downcast and dejected as a result of the storm, due to shrinking
the cold wind coming from the sea.
He noted that many of those people followed him with her eyes, thinking, of
course, that
he was the most beautiful and elegant man who had already found.
The Duke wore a navy blue blazer with gold buttons, and white cap, a visor,
covered her hair black.
However, now that the trip was more relaxed, he felt bored. His will was
Vina be with, talk to her.
For a while he considered whether it would go to the cabin, which would
embarrassing, or if the call to come up to his rooms.
Vina was likely to refuse to talk to him, and then he would have revealed its
the ship too soon.
If she decides to hide from him throughout the trip, he could do nothing to
avoid it.
Vina would have lunch in the hall, and the Duke thought he could see it from a
It might be more prudent to address it in public because she did not want to
do a scene, and
Furthermore it would be easier to stop her escaping him.
But there was no sign of Vina, and information that Hodgson was Miss. Wallace
wanted to have lunch in the lounge and recommended that served in your cabin,
as he
been done during the storm.
Thus, the Duke did not know what action to take, but fate intervened in his
giving you the opportunity to act.
He walked the deck in the afternoon, feeling he needed exercise.
The temperature gradually increased, since the wind had abated. The sea was a
intense blue and the sun showed its splendor, leaving behind the clouds.
The Duke wondered if Vina would be aware of the beauty of that afternoon, when
he felt
needed to speak with her urgently.
He left the deck and began walking along the corridor toward his cabin,
but, on impulse, went on

forward, intending to go to the reading room.

Upon reaching the door, he heard a woman's scream, and then a voice
- Let's not be silly! We are alone and we have fun together, what holds it?
Once the Duke pushed the door was ajar, heard Vina replicate nervosa:
- Go away! Leave me alone!
Then he saw a man, wearing flashy clothes, and had tried to kiss Vina
glued to the wall.
Duke has only two steps to cross the room.
With incredible speed grabbed the man by the neck and pulled him back with
such violence that
threw him on his back.
Half sitting, half lying, with a terrified look, the man did not know why a
moment what had happened.
- Get out! Duke said gruffly. If you have the audacity to behave that way
I swear I will put off the ship in Gibraltar.
The appearance of the Duke, anger and authority that have demonstrated that
that a coarse growl and say, vacillating:
- I. .. I had no bad intention ...
- So get out! repeated the Duke angrily. Hastily the man obeyed, creeping
for the door.
The Duke looked at Vina and found that she looked at him as if he had seen a
ghost. Her eyes took care of your delicate face.
- Is that you? he asked, his voice barely audible.
- Yes, I am! It is obvious that arrived just in time!
- He tried to kiss me! Vina said softly, shaking.
- I can not blame him! If the lady has no judgment, and travels alone and is
beautiful as is ...
As he spoke he realized she was more lovely than ever. He also saw that
There was fear in his eyes and felt that
needed to protect her, care for her. Vina then asked:
- How can you be here? How is it possible? ...
- I want to talk about it, I suggest that we should not be interrupted, go to
cabin, which Hodgson turned into a comfortable living room.
- Hodgson? He is with you? E. .. who else? Reading her thoughts, the Duke
knew she worried that Edgar was also on the ship.
- When I heard that the lady was gone, I ran to reach the ship and get

by a whisker. Only Hodgson is with me.

- Are you saying you followed me? But ... how did you know I was here?
- That's exactly what I want to talk to the lady. And I think it would be much
comfortable talking in the living room than standing still here, where we
be heard.
He realized that Vina looked nervously at the door, and I knew I had hit the
right key.
The ship tossed violently and he grabbed her hands.
- Come on, Miss. Wallace, despite the weather being somewhat better than in
recent days,
we must not risk our legs.
Vina gave a nervous little laugh and said almost in a whisper:
- I was so scared during the storm!
- I also admitted to the Duke, but was eager to talk to the lady. It is
terrible to be
Even without looking at her, she felt that she looked very surprised.
Then the duke led it out of the reading room and they walked together by
long corridor.
Vina came into the living room. Duke closed the door, and turning saw that she
looked for
so apprehensive, still looking very frightened.
Smiling, he approached her, and suddenly Vina snuggled in his arms and
hid his face in his shoulder.
Realizing that she was trembling, he said, reassuring her:
- It's okay, you're safe.
- He .. he startled me she said quietly. This man spoke to me on the train. I
afraid to leave the cabin because he could be out there ... waiting for me.
- You were very foolish to think I could travel alone.
She did not answer. His face was still leaning against him, and the sun's
rays, entering
through the portholes, seemed to wrap her in a golden light.
Surprised, he felt the blood pounding in his temples and his heart beating
Then I knew, though you seem unbelievable, I was madly in love.

It was something unlike anything he had experienced before by any woman.

With Irene Halford and all others with whom he had romantic involvement, felt
at first it was a nice thing, but the fire that burned fiercely soon
extinguished, not even after leaving an ember in the ashes.
Now, however, felt he wanted to protect Vina, which
longed to care for her and have her by his side forever.
Although he had not admitted before, now acknowledged that
harbored such feelings for Vina since he had known.
It was more than evident that this had been impelled to run behind her so
impulsive, this unusual approach, because all his actions tended to be correct
and well
He had experienced terror at the thought that something bad might happen to
Vina. E
never felt this in relation to any other person.
The ship played a bit, and Vina led Duke to the couch. She lifted her head and
sat down. Seeing tears on his cheeks, he took a thin handkerchief from his
pocket and UNE
entregouo it.
After wiping the tears, she said humbly:
- I. .. I'm sorry!
- I wish I had trusted me and tell me what he would do he said
- I know you try to stop me leaving. You and Aunt Marjory will be very angry,
I can not marry your brother, I can not!
- So he decided to hide in India?
- It is the only place I know, and would be safe with people who loved my
- Do you really think it would be possible to stay there indefinitely?
- I brought with me my jewels.
- That's what scared me more after I read your letter. You could be stolen and
- I was in the bank in London, and filled out a check for five hundred pounds.
Assumed that
was a greater amount could raise suspicions.
- I know you thought of everything with intelligence, but it was not
experienced enough to know that
a beautiful young woman like you could not travel unaccompanied without taking

big risks.
Vina made a gesture of helplessness and said:
- I did not know there were men like that to which you have just saved me.
- Well, now you know. What will you do about it?
The Duke saw once again the printed terror in her eyes, and can read what was
in his mind, he knew that she thought that if he were sent back to England,
rather die.
As if to flee, she got up off the couch and stood at the window looking beyond
rail of the deck, watching the sea and the white foam of the waves.
- What do you think would make a nonsense gesture said the duke, calmly, and
undoubtedly a major scandal.
- I do not think anyone cared about someone as insignificant.
- Certainly I would do a lot of unpleasant questions as: why were you and me
I would have done to hurt her.
Vina turned, gazing at him with huge eyes, and he knew it not occurred to him
possibility. She looked away again, Duke and added:
- I do not believe that I hate enough to put me in an embarrassing situation,
for which
I would not have a plausible explanation.
- No. .. no ... Of course not! How could it hurt you if you have been so kind
to me?
- I keep trying to be nice, but we need to talk about everything and decide
would be more sensible to do under the circumstances.
He noticed that she trembled and heard her say forcefully:
- I can not go back! I can not marry your brother! It is horrible, cruel and
The voice failed him, then she continued:
- He said he would spend all the money that was Dad with frivolous women,
giving parties
and other fancy things that I know are wrong, very wrong!
- Of course they are wrong - the Duke agreed. There was a brief silence, then
said Vina,
as if to lead the Duke:
I want to give that money to the starving children of India.

- I can imagine a lot of ways, including this, to employ his fortune paying
enormous benefits in favor of the truly needy.
Vina gulped and stared at the Duke.
- Seriously ... serious? The Duke rose.
- Of course yes, but this is something that should be done with great good
sense, and so
smart as his father always acted to collaborate with the British authorities.
- It's all desire.
She looked at the duke, who was now standing beside him. There was one on her
whole new expression.
- It will really help me? Go? she murmured.
- Know that will help.
She gave a little cry of absolute happiness.
For this reason, or perhaps by the rocking of the ship, she threw herself into
the arms of the Duke, that the
entwined. The faces of both found themselves so close that, yielding to a
imperious, his lips joined to it.
A slight tremor shook it, and then your lips soft, so sweet and innocent,
to that kiss, which was becoming more and more possessive, more demanding and
Vina felt emerging from the depths and darkness of death into the radiant
light of the sun,
for life.
He had been so terrified in Quarrington almost thrown himself from the Tower
of Despair.
When Alveric to prevent him from committing such a folly, thought the only way
to save himself
would run.
Tried to plan the flight with the same cleverness that his father would have
used, writing a letter
for the Duke and another to his lawyers, asking them to pay fifty thousand
pounds to Lord Edgar. After that certainly did not even bother her anymore.
She did not doubt that his attitude would leave her aunt angry, but once it
was in
India would even years
they could find it, yet if she communicated with her uncles.
Being in India, would have the guidance of his father to find a safe place,

and no one
force them to marry a man she did not love.
Her jewels were so valuable that, if sold, it would provide enough
live well throughout its existence.
Vina was wise enough to know he needed cash to
meet the travel expenses.
Asking questions on set, she discovered that there was a train to London, that
caught on days off and went in Quarrington stop at dawn.
He also knew where it was the bank, which, luckily, was on the way to the
station of Fenchurch
After catching the train without any difficulty, the boat trip planned.
Upon arriving in India, she landed at Southampton, and was aware that to take
SS Magnificent, to depart the next day, would have to take the train to
Not anticipated, however, that there was great difference between traveling
with her father or
a chaperone, like his uncle hired when she returned from India, and
travel alone.
In London, while waiting on the platform, he noticed that several men stared
at her for a
so that made her uncomfortable.
In the train, sat in a car where there was only one lady, but soon after
departure, a man of showy clothes, bad taste, it's supposed to be commercial
came from another room and sat down before her.
He repeatedly tried to hold a conversation, but to elude Vina, trying to read
the newspaper he had bought at the station.
When they arrived at Tilbury, the man, wanting to be helpful, called a charger
insisted that they were walking to the ship, because the distance was small.
Vina could pay for better accommodations and more expensive and fortunately
there was a
cabin available.
When the charger took their luggage to the cabin, she thought with relief that
had managed to escape the man.
Certain that he would travel in another class, was alarmed to see that he was
housed in the first class, although in cabin and cheaply.

Not intended to mingle with other passengers on board, and even before the
Storm collapse, had decided to stay in the cabin.
Upon hearing the instructions that nobody should leave their rooms, she
would be happy reading, and asked them to bring him books from the library.
Thought about what would have happened in the Duke Quarrington after receiving
your letter.
he certainly felt relieved that she no longer cause problems. However, wanted
he remembered where it rode Hercules.
As the ship pitched and swayed, she thought she could be riding Hercules and
jumping the obstacles that the Duke was considered high and too dangerous for
Outside the most exciting thing he had done in life.
Vina continued thinking about the Duke, how he was gentle when you talk on top
Tower of Despair prevented on how to end life.
On the second day of the storm, Vina received a note from the man who talked
with her
on the train, whose name is known Rawlinson, and suddenly longed for the
protection of the duke.
However, thinking it was silly to be frightened, decided to ignore the
suggestion of Mr..
Rawlinson to meet and torn the ticket, thinking it would be safe in their
Not long after they knocked on the door, and even gave him
Mind that could be Rawlinson.
Getting up, out the door and, when they are faced with him, issued a brief
- How did you're not sick, like the other passengers, I thought we could
explore together the ship.
- No, thank Vina said firmly.
She was closing the door, but he put his foot inside.
- Come on, be kind. I want to talk with you, and have much to say.
- Could you please withdraw? You have no right to invade my cabin, knows very
- You are being rude. There's no one as beautiful as you on board, and I could
help her to go

into the hall, which is empty. You will see that will not fall.
He extended his hand as he spoke, and Vina gave a little cry.
Seeing that Rawlinson was entering the cabin, she pressed the bell, calling
At that moment the ship shook so violently that he fell Vina sitting on the
bed, and Mr..
Rawlinson sat beside her.
- Go away! she shouted angrily. Go away at once!
He laughed and hugged her. At that moment the maid appeared at the door and
Mr.. Rawlinson,
frustrated, stood up and, holding it up in bed to keep up, managed to reach
- I see it later! he said, turning. Maybe tomorrow the sea is calmer. Until
Rawlinson turned away, trying to display an air of hurt, but proved to be
ridiculous, because there
could keep up and just did not fall because they grabbed the door handle.
The maid looked at Vina, who was sitting up in bed, pale and frightened.
- How did he get?
- He knocked at the door, and thought it was you.
- Well, my key in the future will bring, or if you prefer, I will say that I
am one who knocks. I know
type, Miss, they always cause trouble in any vessel.
The maid went out, closing the door, and Vina was alone, devastated.
When the Duke's second foray Vina rid of Mr.. Rawlinson, thinking she is, this
time in the reading room, she could not believe he was there. Not used
imagine things and knew I was not dreaming.
The duke was real, apesaf opinion you have come out of a dream.
I could not keep his eyes away from him. He felt that his eyes became larger
before it was only the Duke.
When Alveric took her in his arms and kissed her, knew that he always longed
Despite having fled Quarrington and Lord Edgar, felt that he had left
something very
precious back.

He continued to kiss her, and she knew she had loved since she had ridden
together and
feared that he was angry.
The Duke will never infuse fear, which did not happen with Lord Edgar.
His mere presence will conveyed a sense of confidence is very similar to
sense of security I felt when I was near the father.
But now had no doubts: he knew it was love!
She felt as if the light of the moon and the stars will illuminate the heart.
- How could you leave me? the Duke asked, his voice overcome with emotion.
- I love you! Vina whispered, softly. Now I know that I love you!
- I also love, my angel!
He began to kiss her, kissed her deeply, as if afraid to lose it, holding it
it with a stream of kisses.
Only stopped when a more abrupt motion of the ship made them sit on the couch.
So Alveric hugged her, pressing her close, and as her head on his pendesse
shoulder, kissed his forehead, eyes, nose small and perfect, and finally the
- How can arguably be so beautiful?
- Never thought you could admire me, and Lady Irene and all those women
beautiful to look at.
- Her beauty is very different from theirs. You is unlike any person I ever
You are the one, and I'm crazy about you!
Vina sighed with happiness.
- Seriously?
- Very serious. And now, dear, no more problems.
- What do you mean?
- I mean to protect, take care of you, I will maintaining it away from anyone
want to frighten her. That love you forever!
For a moment he saw a bright glow in his eyes, which evoked the glittering of
stars. Vina then looked away and said in a faint voice:
- I was going to India, where no one would ever find me.
- Believe me, really, that I allow it, or he could live alone?
Vina did not respond, and after a moment he added:
- You think boring life in England, but may not have the same opinion if we
She looked at him, showing that they understood it well.

- I'm asking you, my love, to marry me. And I swear to you that this is a
request that
never did any woman!
- But you can not marry me!
- Why not?
- I know I'm not high, and there Lord Edgar.
- All that my brother wants is money Alveric said a rough voice. Again pay
their debts, and he certainly will, as always, squandering a fortune
women, so that both irresponsible shocked you.
I can pay his debts.
How did you think wisely, my love, your money should be spent on
who really need it.
Everything we give to Edgar will be a criminal waste.
- But he wants money and will be very angry if I marry you.
The Duke agreed, but did not want to bother Vina, and said quickly:
- I am sure I will find a way to control my brother, and one thing is
certain: you will not marry Edgar, just because he is coveting his fortune!
Vina sighed with relief and said:
- But still not a sufficiently important person to be his wife.
- The only person who can decide that I am he said firmly. I need you, Vina,
like never needed anybody in my entire life!
She snuggled up a little bit more to it.
- I have to admit, first, it was utter madness to propose the idea of Edgar
marriage to a woman only for her fortune. After I met her, I realized,
later, it would be impossible for you to accept this proposal.
- It is true that thought that?
- I think I fell in love with you as soon as I saw her entering the room, so
beautiful. Then when you've already spoken to Edgar and saw the terror in her
eyes, knew that
would do anything to save her from him.
- You saved my life when I was at the top of the tower she murmured softly.
- I do not want to think about it. If I lose, it would have lost the most
precious thing
He did not wait for an answer, he turned to kiss her again and continued
kissing her until
she felt more in the land, but with him flying into the sky.
Both found themselves surrounded by a heavenly light that could only have come

from God.
After a long time, the Duke said:
- You do not feel that the sea is much calmer? Or
I imagine it will be because he is so happy and because depression, doubts and
disappeared? Vina laughed, happy, and he suggested:
Let's take a walk around the deck. Tomorrow we will arrive at Gibraltar.
He looked so inquiring, and Vina said:
- You want to go back to England when we get to Gibraltar?
- I was thinking about this possibility, and as yet have not had the
opportunity to
meet without much explanation and interruptions, if you agree, we could go to
He saw a gleam in her eyes, and before she could answer, he continued:
- I may have an even better idea: what does a honeymoon in India? You
could show me some places where he was with his father. I also have some
friends there and would like to review them.
Astonished, Vina fixed his gaze on him.
- You mean you are getting married?
- Of course you do! It would not do I get to India in the company of a
beautiful young woman,
even if it was my fiancee, then I suggest you get married in Gibraltar.
Vina sighed and said triumphantly:
- Is it really possible?
- It is. I can not imagine anything more wonderful than being married to you!
I abhor the idea of a big wedding with all our friends
wondering why we're getting married and rushing in to take erroneous
Vina laughed, and Duke said with a note of urgency in his voice:
- What are we waiting? I love you madly, and I know you love me too. His
desire is
escape, and is also what I want. Therefore, we will not have to answer to
Vina smiled, not hiding his happiness, and snuggling up over the Duke, said:
- I'd be frightened by a grand party
wedding. Perhaps no one understood how much we love, not even Aunt
Marjory. Oh, Alveric, I wish so much that you were not Duke!
- There is one thing I can not cure! he said with a half smile.
- I know. But if you were an ordinary man, nobody would be surprised with our

marriage, everyone may think that I'm marrying you for a title!
- Who cares what they think? I did not marry you for your fortune or your
Perhaps it is presumptuous of me, but I believe that love me for myself.
- I love you because it's the most wonderful man that ever lived she said,
with passion in his voice.
I know you have, like me, a very acute intuition and my intuition tells me
that we
- Loved in other lives. I also know that this life is not long enough for
I can figure out how wonderful you are!
Finding no words to reply, Alveric beijoua with passion. He felt it was
That's what he had always desired. Imagined to be impossible to find a woman
loved him entirely by himself and not only the coveted title of Duchess.
Women had always pursued, and he was conscious of being a man
attractive and ardent lover. However, he thought with some skepticism that the
glamor of
Quarrington and status inherent in its title dazzled any woman more
than his own person.
As Vina said his perception was acute, and he was convinced that she loved him
differently from the other women he was involved.
He believed that in fact she was happy to be able to travel the world like two
a common man and a woman with nothing to recommend them beyond their own
Alveric sought the end of the rainbow throughout your life, and I knew I had,
after all,
find a priceless treasure,
why he felt extremely happy. Vina was for him to perfection, she gathered all
what he always wanted to find a wife.
As will be more difficult to express their feelings in words, preferred the
of your kisses.
While they kissed, Alveric was aware of having in her arms a young pure
sensitive and innocent.
Together they could combine their authority and money for the good of her
especially in India and England.
Love you my angel!
There was only one truth, but also a promise he intended to keep the

The ship entered the harbor of Gibraltar in the early morning. The rock,
golden rays of the sun,
appeared even more colossal.
The sea was very blue. Vina, who was on deck next to the Duke, looking for
people waiting for the ship dock and the English flag that flew at the whim of
breeze. Everything seemed enveloped in enchantment.
She slipped her hand and held it, that looked with a smile.
- What are your plans? she asked.
- Just say to him later, as you'll see in a minute, Hodgson will be the first
to set foot on land
to run all of my orders.
- You are making me curious.
- The first thing we have to do is buy the rings, but I think this will not be
difficult. However, I do not want to stay curious about us.
- No. .. Vina course not agreed, looking at him over her shoulders.
She returned to the cabin, and two hours later met with the Duke.
- Both landed and went to a jewelry store where he bought the rings and also
a large aquamarine, she looked up, delighted.
- Quarrington I in a large number of rings
were used by the brides family. But they certainly do not compare to the
jewels of the
Maharaja. However, dear, this is a small token of my love and gratitude
for the happiness you've given me.
She looked at him with an expression that made him want to kiss her right
When they left the store, she asked:
- Where are we now?
- The Dean is waiting for us in the cathedral. I have treated all with the
governor, and got a
special license. I'm getting married as Alveric Quary, simply. I do not want
families to be heard the news of our marriage in the newspapers. I prefer that
know about it through us.
Vina looked surprised, and he explained:
Of course, this is my name, but not mentioning the title of duke, and avoiding
trappings, the journalists of the island not suspect that something unusual is
- Will marry us so much more exciting than a wedding at St. George,

Hanover Square!
The Duke thought, happy, very few women would think so if they were to marry
with him.
He repeated to himself that Vina was unique, unlike any he had known.
The church was empty except for Hodgson and Dean, who was kneeling before the
altar. Someone played the organ softly.
Vina Once entered, accompanied by the Duke, Hodgson presented her with a
bouquet of white flowers.
The bride and groom walked down the aisle to the altar, and Dean, an old man,
stood up to
receive them. He led the ceremony with such fervor that Vina felt that each
the words he uttered was a blessing.
When the alliance Alveric put on her finger, she remembered that he antl
symbolized a commitment and a union that would last for a lifetime, and she
Alveric would be one, and nothing will ever separate them.
When he knelt to receive the final blessing, Vina thought of her father, whom
he had
protected and did find true love, the same love that he and his wife had
devoted to each other.
It would be eternally grateful to have found someone who understood, a
man of integrity and noble.
Upon returning to the ship, Vina said:
- What will you tell the Commissioner? He should know that we got married,
- I'll tell him after we left Gibraltar, but I will do so sworn to secrecy.
There is no
need for anyone to know what happened until we reached Calcutta.
- And then?
- I am afraid, my love, that we are left with the viceroy for a few days until
we leave to explore
the country that you know so well and I so little.
- It will be very exciting, I fear not only be a good enough guide for you.
- You will guide me and inspire a multitude of ways, show me India will be
only one
They returned to the ship, and then the duke could finally hold her and kiss
- My beloved, now you're my wife, and I am feeling the most happy and

men, because I know I found the perfect woman in every way.

- Oh, love! I'm so afraid to disappoint him even though I love him with all my
During the ceremony of our marriage, I felt that my father approved of our
marriage and made me
- Make sure that I will very happy!
- Until now, dear, I did not know what was the true happiness he said
Both the lunch box and learned that the ship still leave that afternoon.
The storm in the Bay of Biscay had caused some delay, and the captain was
anxious to
catch up to the next level, which would be Alexandria.
The ship was already at sea, and Alveric and Vina were talking, sitting on the
when a waiter came in with a cable.
- Sorry, my lord, give him the cable just now. This delay is due to the fact
we left in a hurry.
The Duke received the cable with indifference, thinking he should have been
by John Simpson and wondering if, in response, should tell you that he had
In truth, Alveric bit worried about what would have happened in Quarrington
after his departure.
If Edgar had become boring, a bit of hassle to do well brother.
As for the general and Lady Wallace, the Duke was sure to calm John Simpson
with his usual diplomacy.
Quarrington was away, and now in its happiness, Alveric not want to worry
anything other than his wife.
He put the cable on the table beside her, and Vina, a little distressed, said:
- Maybe you should open it, dear, it may be a matter of urgency.
- Nothing is more urgent than kiss you.
He touched his lips with his wife's face. Feeling the softness and realizing
that she
winced, he smiled and said, loving:
- What did I make you feel love?
Vina timidly leaned his head on his shoulder and said softly:
- Every time you touch me, I feel as if the moon is shining within
I ... and then it turns into little tongues of fire.

- It's exactly what I want to feel, my love! He would have continued with his
kisses, but
Vina came out of his arms, saying:
- Should I replace me for dinner, honey. Even here in the dining cabin, want
to be
very nice for you. After all,
this is our wedding night.
- Our wedding night, which we will always remember! he said, in love.
She smiled so lovely to go through the cabin that he felt an urge to
get up and bring her back to her arms.
Vina Once out of sight, he rang the bell, calling for Hodgson.
Ordered to prepare for dinner plates thinner, and also thought of a thousand
other ways
Vina to please on the first night of marriage.
"I love you! God as love!"
Returning to the couch, he saw the cable on the side table and opened it
First look at the signature, was, in fact, John Simpson. Then read:
"Deeply sorry, I inform Your Highness that Lord Edgar was thrown out of the
Hercules when riding yesterday, late at night. His Lordship broke his neck,
but the stallion was uninjured. Everything arranged for the funeral takes
place Saturday. Justify
their absence explaining that Your Highness is outside the country.
John Simpson. "
The Duke stared, pale, for the message.
Certainly Edgar Hercules had set up deliberately to challenge his brother. The
had given strict orders that no one rode, being an animal much
Edgar was not a good rider, and ran preposterous risks when intoxicated.
Crossing the room, the Duke threw the cable in a drawer of his desk,
decided not to tell what had happened Vina. That should be the night of
At the same time, should recognize that what happened would make things easier
in the future. On
However, their marriage
should only be announced after a few months.
When you think about it, smiled, realizing that was exactly what we wanted to

Vina. This
therefore not present themselves in Calcutta as the Duke and Duchess of
Quarrington, but
remain anonymous.
Both will travel through India as ordinary people, and thus would not be
noticed or
nor disturbed.
Alveric felt that fate, or God, who knows, had sent her a wedding gift
more appropriate than any other.
It would be hypocritical of you to say that she regretted the death of his
brother, which only caused him
serious problems and become a spendthrift since grown.
Edgar had been an unhappy person and without character. Nobody would cry for
him, except,
perhaps, the prostitutes with whom he spent so much money.
Undoubtedly, Quarrington would be a much happier place without Edgar.
People who loved to comment on the disgraceful behavior of his brother
Duke soon find a replacement who could talk.
"I am a lucky man," thought Alveric. "I'll never be sufficiently grateful for
I have received. "
After dinner for two, candlelight, the cabin filled with flowers that Hodgson
bought in Gibraltar, at the request of the Duke, Vina looked at her husband,
radiating such
happiness she seemed to vibrate and shine like the starlight.
- Are you happy, my dear?
- So happy I'm afraid of waking up and realizing it was all a dream!
- That will not happen, love, and now, after the full day we had, I think
should go to bed.
Alveric loved the pink color that tinged the faces of Vina and how suddenly it
showed shy. Thanks to good luck, the passenger cabin attached to the125
Duke left the ship in Gilbratar. So Alveric transformed it into a dressing
for the wife, just beside his dressing room.
Vina traded up for dinner in your own cabin, as the Duke asked him to do,
and only when he returned to the chambers of her husband understood why that
request: he booked a surprise.
During dinner, they were surrounded by beautiful flowers, and now their

was entirely decorated with roses and white lilies.

She looked amazed for that world of dreams.
The bed was covered with a Chinese quilt, intricately embroidered, which
bought in one of the shops they passed down the main street of Gibraltar.
Vina had admired the beautiful quilt, but did not want to show it, not to be
recebla was willing to present.
Now, seeing it draped over the bed, and that profusion of flowers, found that
the fourth
was transformed into a lovely environment.
- How did you make this cabin so wonderful? Alveric, who was behind it,
wrapped her arms lovingly and said:
-I did my best to create a cozy alcove to house the most beautiful woman I
She smiled and said, in a voice that was little more than a whisper:
- And for the most wonderful man on earth.
Much later, when the ship sailing in calm waters, not realizing almost
no movement, Vina moved into the arms of her husband.
- I tell you that I love ... But I've said it so many times ... whispered.
- Know that I never tire of hearing it repeated that loves me. Also love, my
beloved, and
love you always, until the stars fall from the sky and the seas become
- That's all I want to hear you say ... but I fear that might disappoint you.
- How could I?
- I acknowledge that I am ignorant of love, never thought that love would be
exciting and so wonderful! But, you being so experienced, you may find me
The Duke laughed.
- Boring! Certainly never be boring, my love. You're the opposite of this, not
when it comes to love, but also in everything she says and does! You have been
always original, different and special, and I wish to continue being so.
- There can be nothing more exciting than being married, having a honeymoon
no one to interrupt us.
- Nobody ever said it will make the duke. We started our honeymoon, and I

that not only it will be an exciting adventure, but our whole future life will
be full of
She snuggled over to her husband, and he said:
- I have not forgotten you thought England bore.
- That was before I found! Now I know that if we were living on top of a
mountain, on the seabed or anywhere else, everything would be wonderful and
because you were there.
The Duke kissed her forehead.
- I hope you keep thinking like that because, being so lovely, spend their
lives in fear
of losing it.
He spoke only to tease her, but Vina said:
- How could I imagine that a man could be as wonderful as you are?
Who should be afraid of me.
- Fear of what?
- In losing him to another woman, of course! It is normal
they want you, and I'll be terrified if you prefer to me!
- This is impossible!
- Why?
- Because you know very well that we are now a single person. You belong to
me, Vina,
not only because my wife, but also because our intuitions are the same and
our hearts and our souls are completed entirely.
Vina gave a little cry of happiness.
- I am elated to know that you think so, and that's exactly what I believe,
but feared
not understand that.
-Of course I understand. And I think, as the Indians, who have walked in a
another for centuries or even longer, and now that we finally met, nothing
no one can ever separate us.
As he finished speaking, he noted that Vina waited anxiously for his lips.
Then, very slowly, because I wanted to savor the moment and because he still
in what he said he did not kiss her lips, but her soft neck.
Feeling that she trembled, kissed her breasts.
Vina's breathing quickened, her heart in seconds and hit him in the same
frenetic, uneven.

Alveric hands caressed his wife's body, while his lips eager required
hers. At this point, a starlight housed within them, and became
Small tongues of fire.
When Vina Alveric became completely yours, both felt transported to the
heaven, where they played the stars and the moon embraced, and divine love was
theirs for the whole
Who is Barbara Cartland?
The love stories of Barbara Cartland has sold over 350 million books
worldwide. In an age in which literature gives much importance to
more superficial aspects of sex, the audience is left to conquer for their
pure and full of heroes noble ideals. And he was fascinated by the way
builds his plots, in settings ranging from the splendor of the palace of Queen
the mysterious expanses of tropical forests or the mountains of the Himalayas.
accuracy of reconstructions of time is another attraction of this author, who,
have written over three hundred books, is also a historian and playwright. But
Barbara Cartland so interested in the values of the past and the problems
of his time. Therefore, given the title of Knight of the Order of St. John
Jerusalem, for his work in defense of better working conditions for
nurses in England, and is president of the National Association for the