Well, they can be happy once more when he forgets me. I, at least, shall not stand in the way. Dear Margaret, I am not so mean as that! You shall keep your lover, and I will never have mine!
All my life I shall hate the road to Versailles. “Go at top speed,” I told my chauffeur.
I felt if we might dash against a tree and have done with the whole matter, it would be the best thing in the end.
The rapid motion through the air revived me. I had my wits about me when we drew up at the hotel door.
“I am going to Switzerland to-night,” I said to McGreggor. “Pack up everything.”
She is a maid of wonderful sense.
“Very well, ma’am,” she said, without the slightest appearance of surprise.
I sat down and wrote a telegram to Antony. It would just catch him. He was to leave by the night mail:
“I have seen Muriel
and I know. Lady Tilchester has been
always kind to me. Do not come. Good-bye.”
Then I took it to the post-office myself.
That night we left for Lucerne—McGreggor and Roy and I.
It being August, crowds of tourists faced me everywhere. Lucerne, which I had always heard was such a pretty place, filled me with loathing. I only stayed a day there. At last, after stopping in several places, we arrived one afternoon at Zuiebad. Here, at least, there were no tourists, only ugly rheumatic invalids, and unattractive. What made me choose such a place I do not know, unless it was because I happened to see the name printed large upon the map. Any place would do. I had not felt much in my rapid rush. A numbness, as of a limb cut off, an utter indifference to everything in life.
But when I found myself alone in the vast pine-woods, an anguish, as of physical pain, took possession of me. Every tree spoke to me of Antony. The surroundings were all perfect.
What would he do? Would he follow me and try to persuade me to alter my mind? Oh no, he could never do that. He would know that this must be final. What had been his idea all along? How could he think I should never find out, and having done so, that I would ever accept such a position?
Or was it that he, like all his world, thought so lightly of passing from one love to another that fidelity to Lady Tilchester was among the catalogue of things that do not count.
I had taken no pains to hide my whereabouts.
At each hotel they would know to where I had gone on. For days a feverish excitement took possession of me. Every knock at the door made me start. Would he write? Would he make any sign? I almost prayed not, and yet I feared and longed to hear from him.
This is not a school-girl love story I am writing, but the chronicle of my life. I have always despised sentimental heart-burnings, and when I used to read of the heroine dying for love, it always made me laugh. But, oh, never again can I know such bitterness in life as I have suffered in this black week—to have been so near to bliss, and now to be away forever!