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A Monk of Cruta
by E. Phillips Oppenheim
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[Transcriber's note: All typographical errors have been corrected. All other inconsistencies in the text, including an unfinished sentence, have been left as is.]



A MONK OF CRUTA

BY

E. PHILLIPS OPPENHEIM,

Author of "The Peer and the Woman," "A Millionaire of Yesterday," Etc., Etc.

NEW YORK: J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY, 57 ROSE STREET.

COPYRIGHT, 1894, BY F. TENNYSON NEELY.



A MONK OF CRUTA.



CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. "THE BLACK-ROBED PHANTOM, 'DEATH'" 11

II. "THE NEW ART" 32

III. "THE DANCING GIRL" 39

IV. "ADREA'S DIARY" 47

V. "THE FAR-OFF MUTTERING OF THE STORM TO COME" 50

VI. "AN ASHEN GREY DELIGHT" 61

VII. "WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT YOUR MISSION" 73

VIII. "I AM WEARY OF A HOPELESS LOVE" 80

IX. "AH! HOW FAIR MY WEAKNESS FINDS THEE" 91

X. "I AM BUT A SLAVE, AND YET I BID THEE COME" 104

XI. "ADREA'S DIARY" 114

XII. "WE ARE LIKE SHOOTING STARS, WHOSE MEETING IS THEIR RUIN" 122

XIII. "THE PATH THAT LEADS TO MADMEN'S KINGDOMS" 129

XIV. "THE POISON OF HONEY FLOWERS" 136

XV. "AND MOST OF ALL WOULD I FLY FROM THE CRUEL MADNESS OF LOVE" 144

XVI. "'TWIXT YOU AND ME A NOISOME SHADOW CAST" 154

XVII. "IF LOVE YOU CHOOSE, THEN LOVE SHALL BE YOUR RUIN" 159

XVIII. "SOFTLY GLIMMERING THROUGH THE LAURELS AT THE QUIET EVENFALL" 166

XIX. "BLOOD CALLS ALOUD FOR BLOOD AND NOT FOR HANDS ENTWINED" 174

XX. "THE NEW, STRONG WINE OF LOVE" 180

XXI. "ADREA'S DIARY" 185

XXII. "OH! HEART OF STONE, YET FLESH TO ALL SAVE ME" 195

XXIII. "MY LIPS ARE CHARGED WITH TRUTH, AND JUSTICE BIDS ME SPEAK" 206

XXIV. "THE SHATTERED VASE OF LOVE'S MOST HOLY VOWS" 218

XXV. "A BECKONING VOICE FROM OUT A SHADOWY LAND" 224

XXVI. "LATE THOU COMEST, CRUEL THOU HAST BEEN" 232

XXVII. "GRIM FIGURES TRACED BY SORROW'S FIERY HAND" 241

XXVIII. "ADREA'S DIARY" 249

XXIX. "ADREA'S DIARY" 263

XXX. "ADREA'S DIARY" 275

XXXI. "ADREA'S DIARY" 280

XXXII. "THE LORD OF CRUTA" 291

XXXIII. "THE DAWN OF A SHORT, SWEET LIFE" 298

XXXIV. "A VOICE AND FIGURE FROM THE DISTANT PAST" 308

XXXV. "FROM OUT LIFE'S THUNDERS TO A STRANGE, SWEET WORLD" 322

XXXVI. "LOVE THAN DEATH ITSELF MORE STRONG" 329



A MONK OF CRUTA.



CHAPTER I

"THE BLACK-ROBED PHANTOM 'DEATH'"

"Father Adrian!"

"I am here!"

"I saw the doctor talking with you aside! How long have I to live? He told you the truth! Repeat his words to me!"

The tall, gaunt young priest drew nearer to the bedside, and shook his head with a slow, pitying gesture.

"The time was short—short indeed. Yet, why should you fear? Your confession has been made! I myself have pronounced your absolution; the holy Church has granted to you her most holy sacrament."

"Fear! Bah! I have no fear! It is a matter of calculation. Shall I see morning break?"

"You may; but you will never see the mid-day sun."

The dying man raised himself with a slow, painful movement, and pointed to the window.

"Throw up the window."

He was obeyed. A servant who had been sitting quietly in the shadows of the vast apartment, with his head buried in his hands, rose and did his master's bidding.

"What hour is it?"

"Three o'clock."

"Gomez, strain your eyes seaward. Is there no light on the horizon?"

"None! The storm has wrapped the earth in darkness. Listen!"

A torrent of rain was swept against the streaming window pane, and a gust of wind shook the frame in its sockets. The watcher turned away from the window with a mute gesture of despair. No eye could pierce that black chaos. He sank again into his seat, and looked around shuddering. The high, vaulted chamber was lit by a pair of candles only, leaving the greater part of it in gloom. Grim, fantastic shadows lurked in the corners, and lay across the bare floor. Even the tall figure of the priest, on his knees before a rude wooden crucifix, seemed weird and ghostly. The heavy, mildewed bed-hangings shook and trembled in the draughts which filled the room, and the candles flickered and burnt low in their sockets. Gomez watched them with a sort of anxious fascination. His master's life was burning out, minute for minute, with those candles. Twenty-five years of constant companionship would be ended in a few brief hours. Gomez was not disposed to trouble much at this; but he bethought himself of a snug little abode in Piccadilly, where the discomforts now surrounding them were quite unknown. Surely, to die there would be a luxury compared with this. He began to feel personally aggrieved that his master should have chosen such an out-of-the-way hole to end his days in. Then came a rush of thought, and he was grave. He knew why! Yes! he knew why!

The dying man lay quite still, almost as though his time were already come. Once he raised himself, and the feeble light flashed across a grey, haggard face and a pair of burning eyes. But his effort was only momentary. He sank back a