“He thinks it is the only way to save d’Azay.” Suddenly she came forward from the embrasure of the window and stood once more beside the table, her face lighted up by the glow of the fire. “Believe me, I know how great a thing I ask,” she says, quite wildly, and covering her eyes with her hand. “I ask you now what you once asked me and what I flung away.” Calvert looked up startled, but not being able to read her face, which was concealed, he dropped his head again, and she went on: “If it is possible for you to make this sacrifice, everything I can do to make it bearable shall be done—we need never see each other again—I can follow d’Azay to whatever retreat he may find——”
“Don’t distress yourself so,” said Calvert, gently, interrupting her. He looked at the appealing, despairing woman before him, she who had been so brilliant, so untouched by sorrow, and a great desire to serve her and a great compassion for her came over him. There was pity for himself, too, in his thoughts, for he had schooled himself for so long to believe that the woman he loved did not love him, and could never love him, that no slightest idea that he was mistaken came to him now to help lighten his sacrifice. As he realized all this he thought, not without a pang, of the future and of the unknown possible happiness it might hold for him and which he was renouncing forever. In the long days to come, he had thought, he might be able to forget that greater happiness denied him and be as contented as many another man, but even that consolation he could now no longer look forward to.
“Do not distress yourself,” he said again, quietly. “Be assured that I shall make no effort to see you—indeed, I think I shall leave Paris myself as soon as this wound permits,” and he touched his bandaged arm. “In the last few days I have thought seriously of entering military service again under Lafayette. He is a good soldier, if a bad statesman, and has need of officers and men in this crisis, if ever general had.”
As he turned away and touched a small bell on the table, Adrienne’s hand dropped at her side and she gave him so strange, so sad a glance that had he looked at her he would have seen that in her pale face and miserable eyes which he had longed to see two years before. She took a step forward—for an instant the wild thought crossed her mind of flinging herself down before him, of confessing her love for him, but sorrow and trouble had not yet wholly humbled that proud nature. With a great effort she drew back. “Will you, then, serve us again?” she said, and her voice sounded far off and strange in her own ears.
“Can you doubt it? I will send for Mr. Morris and we will leave everything to him.”
In a few moments he came in, looking anxiously from Calvert to Madame de St. Andre and back again.
“We are agreed upon this matter,” said Calvert, quietly, interpreting Mr. Morris’s look, “providing, in your opinion, it is a necessity. Is the case as desperate as Madame de St. Andre deems it, and is this the best remedy for it?”