180 TYLNEY HALL. mad, or worse than mad; but if you were all that you pretend to be, and linked even with the enemy of mankind, in the company of such an angel of light as this I would defy even the powers of darkness." So saying he drew the arm of Grace within his own, and attempted to end the con- ference by walking away ; but the ill-omened prophetess removed at the same time, and still confronted them. " Miss Rivers, a wretch speaks to you," she said, in bitter allusion to the epithet that Grace had formerly applied to her; "but marry that man," and she pointed to Raby as with the linger of fate, "and you shall be as wretched as 1 am. Heed not his smooth words, and his soft speeches,—they are but the sound of kitty-katties, the empty clatter of sticks upon a board. There is one loves you with a love as far sur- passing his as a pine-apple to a sleepy pear." "Let us go," shuddered Grace, "she is mad and dangerous." " No," said the woman, " my brain is sane and sound. She is the mad woman who ventures her
TYLNEY HALL. 181 all in a frail bark that is doomed to founder. She is the crazy one who betroths herself to a phantom. —But you see not as I see,— you scent not the churchyard mould and the worm afar off, nor do you hear the death-toll forestalling the wed- ding peal. Grace Rivers ! revoke your plight, if you would not be a widow ere a wife ! You are depositing your young heart in a marble urn yes, there you cling to him—foolish girl, you are hanging on a skeleton 1 " Do not tremble, Grace," said Raby, in an under tone, with an affectionate pressure of the fair form beside him, " do not deign to tremble at the croak of such a raven. So far from feeling any death-like forebodings, I seem as if the last sweet half hour had made me immortal. As for you," he said, turn- ing to the woman, " your outlandish allusions have betrayed the origin of your soothsaying. In the West Indies this Obeah work might answer your purpose and the ban would be dearly bought off; but, remember, you are in England, where there are laws for vagrants and impostors—and if I may prophesy ia my turn, I shall live long enough to see you doing penance at the cart-tail."