"I have no sister."
"And therefore you are thus hard-hearted. She shall never be your harlot;--never. I would myself sooner take from her the life I gave her. You have destroyed her, but she shall never be a thing so low as that."
"I will marry her,--in a foreign land."
"And why not here? She is as good as you. Why should she not bear the name you are so proud of dinning into our ears? Why should she not be a Countess? Has she ever disgraced herself? If she is disgraced in your eyes you must be a Devil."
"It is not that," he said hoarsely.
"What is it? What has she done that she should be thus punished? Tell me, man, that she shall be your lawful wife." As she said this she caught him roughly by the collar of his coat and shook him with her arm.
"It cannot be so," said the Earl Of Scroope.
"It cannot be so! But I say it shall,--or,--or--! What are you, that she should be in your hands like this? Say that she shall be your wife, or you shall never live to speak to another woman." The peril of his position on the top of the cliff had not occurred to him;--nor did it occur to him now. He had been there so often that the place gave him no sense of danger. Nor had that peril,--as it was thought afterwards by those who most closely made inquiry on the matter,--ever occurred to her. She had not brought him there that she might frighten him with that danger, or that she might avenge herself by the power which it gave her. But now the idea flashed across her maddened mind. "Miscreant," she said. And she bore him back to the very edge of the precipice.
"You'll have me over the cliff," he exclaimed hardly even yet putting out his strength against her.
"And so I will, by the help of God. Now think of her! Now think of her!" And as she spoke she pressed him backwards towards his fall. He had power enough to bend his knee, and to crouch beneath her grasp on to the loose crumbling soil of the margin of the rocks. He still held her by her cuff and it seemed for a moment as though she must go with him. But, on a sudden, she spurned him with her foot on the breast, the rag of cloth parted in his hand, and the poor wretch tumbled forth alone into eternity.
That was the end of Frederic Neville, Earl of Scroope, and the end, too, of all that poor girl's hopes in this world. When you stretch yourself on the edge of those cliffs and look down over the abyss on the sea below it seems as though the rocks were so absolutely perpendicular, that a stone dropped with an extended hand would fall amidst the waves. But in such measurement the eye deceives itself, for the rocks in truth slant down; and the young man, as he fell, struck them again and again; and at last it was a broken mangled corpse that reached the blue waters below.