he had striven to match her moves, plotting in the darkness against her, and fighting desperately with such weak weapons as she possessed. It was characteristic that she did not blame herself for her failure; it was the baseness of van Tuiver, his inability to appreciate sincere devotion, his unworthiness of her love. And this, just after she had been naively telling me of her efforts to poison his mind against Sylvia while pretending to admire her! But I made allowances for Claire at this moment--realizing that the situation had been one to overstrain any woman's altruism.
She had failed in her subtleties, and there had followed scenes of bitter strife between the two. Sylvia, the cunning huntress, having pretended to relent, van Tuiver had gone South to his wooing again, while Claire had stayed at home and read a book about the poisoners of the Italian renaissance. And then had come the announcement of the engagement, after which the royal conqueror had come back in a panic, and sent embassies of his ma
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