"Find your courage--if you have lost it--and speak plain words," Clorinda commanded. Anne tried to writhe away, but could not again, and burst into passionate, hopeless weeping.
"I cannot--I dare not!" she gasped. "I am afraid. You are right; my brain is weak, and I--but that--that gentleman--who so loved you- -"
"Which?" said Clorinda, with a brief scornful laugh.
"The one who was so handsome--with the fair locks and the gallant air--"
"The one you fell in love with and stared at through the window," said Clorinda, with her brief laugh again. "John Oxon! He has victims enough, forsooth, to have spared such an one as you are."
"But he loved you!" cried Anne piteously, "and it must have been that you--you too, sister--or--or else--" She choked again with sobs, and Clorinda released her grasp upon her shoulder and stood upright.
"He wants none of me--nor I of him," she said, with strange sternness. "We have done with one another. Get up upon your feet if you would not have me thrust you out into the corridor."
She turned from her, and walking back to her dressing-table, stood there steadying the diadem on her hair, which had loosed a fastening when Anne tried to writhe away from her. Anne half sat, half knelt upon the floor, staring at her with wet, wild eyes of misery and fear.