But Betty Dalrymple did not laugh. Her eyes, bent seaward, saw nothing now of the leaping waves; her face was fixed as a cameo’s. Only her hair stirred, wind-tossed, all in motion like her thoughts. And regarding her, Sonia Turgeinov’s eyes began to harden a little. Did the woman regret for the moment what she had said, divining again some play within a play? Yet what could there be in common between this beautiful heiress and the gardeurde chiens? No! it was absurd to conceive anything of the kind. Nevertheless Sonia Turgeinov unaccountably began to experience a vague hostility for the young girl; this she might partly attribute to the great gaps of convention separating them. Her own life, in confused pictures, surged panorama-like before her mental vision: The garret beginning; the cold and hunger hardships; the beatings, when a child; the girl problems—so hard; the woman’s—Faugh! what a life! Would that the flame of the artist had burned more brightly or not at all. She tried to imagine what she would have been, if she, too, had been born to a golden cradle.
A great ennui swept over her. How old she felt on a sudden! And how homesick, too. Yes; that was it—homesickness. She could have stretched out her arms toward her much beloved and, sometimes, a little hated, Russia. The bright domes of her native city seemed to shine now in her eyes. She walked in spirit the stony pavement of the Kremlin. Cruelty, intolerance, suffering—all these reigned in the city of extremes, but she would have kissed even the cold marble at the feet of dead tyrants, the way the people did, if she could have stood at that moment in one of the old, old sacred places. Her brief flight into the new world had led her to no pots of gold at rainbow end. The little honorarium from his excellency for her part in this adventure, she did not want now. She regretted that she had ever embarked upon it. What penalty might she not have to pay yet? The law, with dragon fingers would reach out—no doubt was reaching out now—to grip her. Well, let it.
A crisp, matter-of-fact voice—concealing any agitation the speaker may have felt—broke in upon these varied reflections. Mr. Heatherbloom, rather out of breath but quiet and determined, stood before them.
“Miss Dalrymple!—Mademoiselle! There is no occasion for alarm but it will be necessary; for us to leave here at once!”
AN UNEXPECTED OFFER
“To leave?” It was Sonia Turgeinov who spoke. “You mean—” Her eyes turned oceanward but saw nothing.
He made a quick gesture toward a break in the outline of the shore where the island swept around. “Beyond!” he said succinctly and she had no doubt as to his meaning. The tent he had put up where it could not be seen from the sea. But their boat—He looked at the little craft, a too distinct object on the sands. Those on a vessel skirting the shore could not fail to discover that incriminating bit of evidence with their glasses. And there was no way of getting rid of it. He could not destroy it with his bare hands. It was unsinkable. If he set it adrift, wind and sea would drive it straight back.