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HOME > Classical Novels > The Last Egyptian > CHAPTER XVI. KāRA THREATENS.
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CHAPTER XVI. KāRA THREATENS.
Those two days were uneasy ones to Kāra. He felt no dread of Aneth’s final answer, but the waiting for it was wearisome. Their arrangements might easily have been concluded at the last interview had he not been weak enough to defer to the girl’s foolish desire to postpone the inevitable. Since he had come from Fedah, the world had been his plaything, and he found it in no way difficult to accomplish those things he determined upon. He had, therefore, acquired unbounded confidence in the powers of Ahtka-Rā’s remarkable Stone of Fortune, which he believed to have a strong influence over all his undertakings. So the Egyptian merely sought to occupy his time to good advantage until he could bring his bride—willing or unwilling mattered little—home to his handsome villa.

He sent Tadros to summon the most famous merchants of Cairo to wait upon him, and arranged to have the women’s quarters redecorated in regal fashion. He selected many rich silks and embroideries for Aneth’s use when she should need them, and secured an increased corps of Arab servants, well trained in their duties, to attend the slightest wish of their new mistress. He realized that the establishment must hereafter be conducted more upon the plan of a modern European{178} household, and that the apartments of the harem must be transformed into parlors, reception-halls and drawing-rooms.

In marrying Aneth he determined to abandon all Oriental customs and adopt the manners of the newer and broader civilization. He would exhibit his wife in society, and, through her, gain added distinction. His villa would become renowned for its fêtes and magnificent hospitality. Such a life appealed to his imagination, and a marriage with the English girl rendered it possible.

Hatatcha had educated and trained Kāra for a purpose; but now her mission and his oath to fulfil it were alike disregarded. He had given the matter considerable thought recently, and decided that his love for Aneth Consinor canceled all obligations to persecute her or her people further. Hatatcha was dead and forgotten by the world, and her wrongs could never be righted by any vengeance that he might inflict upon her enemies. She could not appreciate the justice of retribution, since her spirit was far away in the nether world with Anubis, and her body in the tombs of Fedah. He had, at first, been conscientious in his determination to accomplish his grandmother’s will, but a girl’s eyes had thwarted him, and Hatatcha had herself proved weak when love assailed her. Even as all his schemes were approaching fruition and his grandmother’s revenge was nearing accomplishment, the compelling power of his love arrested his hand and induced him to cast{179} aside everything that might interfere with his prospective happiness.

On the afternoon of the second day he dressed himself carefully and ordered his chauffeur to be ready to drive him to the Savoy; but as he was about to leave his room, a note was brought to him from Aneth. He tore it open and eagerly read the message—

Dear Prince Kāra:—I am not going to risk another unpleasant interview, because I am anxious we should remain in the future, as in the past, good friends and comrades. But please do not again ask me to marry you, for such a thing is utterly impossible. While I am glad to enjoy your friendship, I can never return the love you profess to bear me, and without love a true woman will not marry. So I beg you will forget that such a thing has ever been discussed between us, and forbear to refer to it again.

Your friend,

Aneth Consinor.

As he read the note Kāra’s face grew set and stern and his dark eyes flashed ominously. He read it a second time, with more care, trying to find some word of hope or compromise in the frankly written epistle. But there was none.

He experienced a sensation of disappointment and chagrin, tinged with considerable astonishment. Strange as it may seem, he had never for a moment anticipated such a positive refusal. But his nature was impetuous and capricious, and presently anger drove all other{180} feelings from his heart; and the anger grew and expanded until it was hot and furious and took full possession of him.

Perhaps it was the blow to his self-esteem that was most effective in destroying the passion he had mistaken for love. Anyway, the love dissolved with startling rapidity, and in a half hour there was little tenderness remaining for the English girl who had repulsed him. He accepted her answer as conclusive, and began at once to revive his former plans of vengeance. One transport was liable to prove as sweet and exciting as another to him, and he began to revel in the consciousness that he was the supreme master of the fate of all the Consinors. Hatatcha was right after all. These English were cold and faithless, and unworthy the consideration of one of his noble race. He had been incautious and weak for a time, but now he resolved to fulfil his oath to the dead woman to the very letter.

He tore the offending paper into fragments, and left the room with a resumption of his old inscrutable demeanor. It was the look that Tadros had learned to fear.

“Drive me to the Savoy,” he said to his chauffeur.

Lord Roane had reserved one small room on the first floor of the hotel as an office, and here he transacted such business matters as came under his jurisdiction. Kāra found him unoccupied, and Roane, who knew his visitor but slightly, greeted the man with cordial politeness.{181}

“Pray be seated, Prince,” said he, offering a chair; “I am entirely at your service.”

The other bowed coldly.

“I fear my mission may prove somewhat disagreeable to you, my lord,” he began, in quiet, even tones.

Roane gave him a shrewd glance.

“Ah, I hear that my son is largely indebted to you for losses in gambling,” he returned, thinking that he understood Kāra’s errand. “So far, it is merely a rumor that has reached me; but if you come to me to plead that case, I beg to assure you that I am in no way responsible for Consinor’s debts of honor.”

The Egyptian shrugged his shoulders as a Frenchman might have done.

“That is another matter, sir, which I do not care to discuss at this time,” he answered. “My present business is to obtain your consent to marry your granddaughter.”

Roane was startled with amazement.

“Aneth! You wish to marry Aneth?” he asked, as if he could not have heard aright.

&ldq............
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