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Chapter 12. Apollo's Lyre (continued)
"And you went back, Christine," groaned Raoul.
"Yes, dear, and I must tell you that it was not his frightful threats when setting me free that helped me to keep my word, but the harrowing sob which he gave on the threshold of the tomb. ... That sob attached me to the unfortunate man more than I myself suspected when saying good-by to him. Poor Erik! Poor Erik!"
"Christine," said Raoul, rising, "you tell me that you love me; but you had recovered your liberty hardly a few hours before you returned to Erik! Remember the masked ball!"
"Yes; and do you remember those hours which I passed with you, Raoul...to the great danger of both of us?"
"I doubted your love for me, during those hours."
"Do you doubt it still, Raoul?...Then know that each of my visits to Erik increased my horror of him; for each of those visits, instead of calming him, as I hoped, made him mad with love! And I am so frightened, so frightened!..."
"You are frightened...but do you love me? If Erik were good-looking, would you love me, Christine?"
She rose in her turn, put her two trembling arms round the young man's neck and said:
"Oh, my betrothed of a day, if I did not love you, I would not give you my lips! Take them, for the first time and the last."
He kissed her lips; but the night that surrounded them was rent asunder, they fled as at the approach of a storm and their eyes, filled with dread of Erik, showed them, before they disappeared, high up above them, an immense night-bird that stared at them with its blazing eyes and seemed to cling to the string of Apollo's lyre.
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