She sat and stared out over the black sea, lighted fitfully by the distant lightning. There, she pronounced sentence upon him—and herself. There was no place for him in her world. He should feel her disdain—he should suffer for his presumption. Presumption? In what way had he offended? She put her hands to her eyes but her lips smiled—smiled with the memory of the kiss she had returned!
“What a fool! What a fool I am,” she cried aloud, springing up resolutely. “I must forget. I told him I couldn’t, but I—I can.” Half way across the room she stopped, her hands clenched fiercely. “If—if Karl were only such as he!” she moaned.
[Illustration: ‘No’ she said to herself, ’I told him I was keeping them for him.’]
She went to her dressing table and resolutely unlocked one of the drawers, as one would open a case in which the most precious of treasures was kept. A cautious, involuntary glance over her shoulder, and then she ran her hand into the bottom of the drawer.
“It was so silly of me,” she muttered. “I shall not keep them for him.” The drawer was partly filled with cigarettes. She took one from among the rest and placed its tip in her red lips, a reckless light in her eyes. A match was struck and then her hand seemed to be in the clutch of some invisible force. The light flickered and died in her fingers. A blush suffused her face, her eyes, her neck. Then with a guilty, shamed, tender smile she dropped the cigarette into the drawer. She turned the key.
“No,” she said to herself, “I told him that I was keeping them for him.”
THE TRIAL OF VON BLITZ
The next morning found the weather unsettled. There had been a fierce storm during the night and a nasty mist was blowing up from the sea. Deppingham kept to his room, although his cold was dissipated. For the first time in all those blistering, trying months, they felt a chill in the air; raw, wet, unexpected.
Chase had been up nearly all of the night, fearful lest the islanders should seize the opportunity to scale the walls under cover of the tempest. All through the night he had been possessed of a spirit of wild bravado, a glorious exaltation: he was keeping watch over her, standing between her and peril, guarding her while she slept. He thought of that mass of Henner hair—he loved to think of her as a creation of the fanciful Henner—he thought of her asleep and dreaming in blissful security while he, with all the loyalty of an imaginative boy, was standing guard just as he had pictured himself in those heroic days when he substituted himself for the story-book knight who stood beneath the battlements and defied the covetous ogre. His thoughts, however, did not contemplate the Princess fair in a state of wretched insomnia, with himself as the disturbing element.
He looked for her at breakfast time. They usually had their rolls and coffee together. When she did not appear, he made more than one pretext to lengthen his own stay in the breakfast-room. “She’s trying to forget yesterday,” he reflected. “What was it she said about always regreting? Oh, well, it’s the way of women. I’ll wait,” he concluded with the utmost confidence in the powers of patience.