"I have studied some of these signatures so much that I know them as well as the bank cashier knows the autograph of his oldest customer.
"This is Count Luigi's right hand; this one, three signatures below, is his left.
"If my signature pledges me to anything," she said, "surely I have some claim to know what that pledge is?"
"Excuse me, Sir Percival," I said--"but as one of the witnesses to the signature, I venture to think that I HAVE something to do with the matter.
"You positively refuse, then, to give me your signature?" he said, in the altered tone of a man who was conscious that he had let his own licence of language seriously injure him.
"After what you have just said to me," she replied firmly, "I refuse my signature until I have read every line in that parchment from the first word to the last.
Can the business of the signature be put off till to-morrow--Yes or No?"
Let the signature wait till to-morrow--let it wait till you come back."
The matter of the signature can wait till to- morrow.
His anxiety about the secret journey which he was to take that day, revived by the Count's words, was now evidently disputing possession of his mind with his anxiety to obtain Laura's signature. He considered for a little while, and then got up from his chair.
"If you don't give me your signature when I come back to-morrow!" The rest was lost in the noise of his opening the book-case cupboard again, and locking up the parchment once more.
Then, it is said, he shuddered, as if that signature
had granted away his salvation.