Legend of the Seventh Virgin

Legend of the Seventh Virgin by Victoria Holt

Book: Legend of the Seventh Virgin by Victoria Holt Read Free Book Online
Authors: Victoria Holt
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Romance, Gothic, Cornwall
paralyzed and couldn’t walk.
    After she had heard the news Mellyora went to her room and wouldn’t see anyone — not even me. She had a headache, she said, and wanted to be alone.
    And when I did go in she was very composed though pale.
    All she said was: “It’s that Judith Derrise. She’s one of the doomed. She’ll bring doom to St. Larnston. It’s that I mind.”
    Then I thought she couldn’t have cared for him seriously. He was just the center of a childish dream. I had imagined that her feelings for him were as intense as mine were for rising out of that station in which I had been born.
    It couldn’t be so. Otherwise she would have cared as much whoever he had arranged to marry. That was how I thought, and it seemed sensible enough to me.

    There was no reason why the wedding should be delayed — and six weeks after we saw the announcement it took place.
    Some of the St. Larnston people went over to Derrise church to the wedding. Mellyora was on edge wondering whether she and her father would have an invitation but she need not have worried. There was none.
    On the day of the wedding we sat in the garden together and were very solemn. It was rather like waiting for someone to be executed.
    We heard news through the servants and it occurred to me what a good system of espionage we had. The servants from the parsonage, those from the Abbas and from Derrise Manor, formed a ring and news was passed on and circulated.
    The bride had a magnificent gown of lace and satin, and her veil and orange blossom had been worn by numerous Derrise brides. I wondered if the one who had seen the monster and gone mad had worn the veil. I mentioned this to Mellyora.
    “She wasn’t a Derrise,” Mellyora pointed out. “She was a stranger. That’s why she didn’t know where the monster was kept.”
    “Have you met Judith?” I asked.
    “Only once. She was at the Abbas and it was one of Lady St. Larnston’s At Homes. She is very tall, slender, and beautiful, with dark hair and big dark eyes.”
    “At least she is beautiful; and I suppose the St. Larnstons will be richer now, won’t they. She’ll have a dowry.”
    Mellyora turned to me and she was angry, which was rare with her. She took me by the shoulders and shook me.
    “Stop talking about riches. Stop thinking of it. Isn’t there anything else in the world? I tell you, she’ll bring doom on the Abbas. She’s doomed. They all are.”
    “It can’t matter to us.”
    Her eyes were dark with something like fury.
    “They are our neighbors. Of course, it matters.”
    “I can’t see how. They don’t care about us. Why should we about them?”
    “They are my friends.”
    “Friends! They don’t bother much about you. They don’t even ask you to the wedding.”
    “I didn’t want to go to his wedding.”
    “That doesn’t make it any better for not asking you.”
    “Oh, stop it, Kerensa. It won’t ever be the same, I tell you. Nothing will ever be the same. It’s changed, can’t you feel it?”
    Yes I could feel it. It was not so much changed as changing; and the reason was that we weren’t children any more. Mellyora would soon be seventeen; and I should be a few months after. We would put our hair up and be young ladies. We were growing up; we were already thinking with nostalgia of the long sunny days of childhood.

    Sir Justin’s life was no longer in danger and his elder son had brought a bride to the Abbas. This was a time for rejoicing and the St. Larnstons had decided to give a ball. It would take place before the summer was over and it was hoped that it would be a warm night so that the guests could enjoy the beauty of the grounds as well as the splendors of the house.
    Invitations were issued and there was one for Mellyora and her father. The bride and groom had gone to Italy for their honeymoon and the ball was to celebrate their return. It was to be a masked ball; a very grand affair. We heard that it was the wish of Sir Justin, who would not

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