The Tortures Begin

The voice repeated angrily: `What have you done with my bag? So it was to take my bag that you asked me to release you!'

We heard hurried steps, Christine running back to the Louis-Philippe room, as though to seek shelter on the other side of our wall.

`What are you running away for?' asked the furious voice, which had followed her. `Give me back my bag, will you? Don't you know that it is the bag of life and death?'

`Listen to me, Erik,' sighed the girl. `As it is settled that we are to live together...what difference can it make to you?'

`You know there are only two keys in it,' said the monster. `What do you want to do?'

`I want to look at this room which I have never seen and which you have always kept from me....It's woman's curiosity!' she said, in a tone which she tried to render playful.

But the trick was too childish for Erik to be taken in by it.

`I don't like curious women,' he retorted, `and you had better remember the story of Blue-Beard and be careful....Come, give me back my bag!...Give me back my bag!...Leave the key alone, will you, you inquisitive little thing?'

And he chuckled, while Christine gave a cry of pain. Erik had evidently recovered the bag from her.

At that moment, the viscount could not help uttering an exclamation of impotent rage.

`Why, what's that?' said the monster. `Did you hear, Christine?'

`No, no,' replied the poor girl. `I heard nothing.'

`I thought I heard a cry.'

`A cry! Are you going mad, Erik? Whom do you expect to give a cry, in this house?...I cried out, because you hurt me! I heard nothing.'

`I don't like the way you said that!...You're trembling.... You're quite excited....You're lying!...That was a cry, there was a cry!...There is some one in the torture-chamber!... Ah, I understand now!'

`There is no one there, Erik!'

`I understand!'

`No one!'

`The man you want to marry, perhaps!'

`I don't want to marry anybody, you know I don't.'

Another nasty chuckle. `Well, it won't take long to find out. Christine, my love, we need not open the door to see what is happening in the torture-chamber. Would you like to see? Would you like to see? Look here! If there is some one, if there is really some one there, you will see the invisible window light up at the top, near the ceiling. We need only draw the black curtain and put out the light in here. There, that's it....Let's put out the light! You're not afraid of the dark, when you're with your little husband!'

Then we heard Christine's voice of anguish:

  By PanEris using Melati.

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