And at this stage of her meditations her eyes grew misty as they gazed into distance, and all soft; and the divine expression of the Sistine Madonna grew in them, as it grew always when she held Mirko in her arms.
Yes, there were things in life which mattered far, far more than pride. And so, comforted by her resolutions, she at last went to bed.
And Tristram sat alone by the fire in his own sitting-room, and stared at that other Tristram Guiscard’s armor. And he, too, came to a resolution, but not of the same kind. He would speak to Francis Markrute when they arrived on Friday night and he could get him quietly alone. He would tell him that the whole thing was a ghastly failure, but as he had only himself to blame for entering into it he did not intend to reproach any one. Only, he would frankly ask him to use his clever brain and invent some plan that he and Zara could separate, without scandal, until such time as he should grow indifferent, and so could come back and casually live in the house with her. He was only a human man, he admitted, and the present arrangement was impossible to bear. He was past the anguish of the mockery of everything to-night—he was simply numb. Then some waiting fiend made him think of Laura and her last words. What if there were some truth in them after all? He had himself seen the man twice, under the most suspicious circumstances. What if he were her lover? How could Francis Markrute know of all her existence, when he had said she had been an immaculate wife? And gradually, on top of his other miseries, trifles light as air came and tortured him until presently he had worked up a whole chain of evidence, proving the lover theory to be correct!
Then he shook in his chair with rage, and muttered between his teeth: “If I find this is true then I will kill him, and kill her, also!”