She should have the first words with her uncle. Whether she would tell him or no she must decide, he would not do anything to make her existence more difficult than it must naturally be.
And then when all this was done the passionate jealousy of a man overcame him again, and when he thought of Mimo he once more longed to kill.
It was late in the afternoon when Zara got back to her uncle’s house. She had been too distracted with grief to know or care about time, or what they would be thinking of her absence.
Just after the poor little one was dead frantic telegrams had come from the Morleys, in consternation at his disappearance, and Mimo, quite prostrate in his sorrow, as he had been at her mother’s death, had left all practical things to Zara.
No doctor turned up, either. Mimo had not coherently given the address, on the telephone. Thus they passed the day alone with their dead, in anguish; and at last thought came back to Zara. She would go to her uncle, and let him help to settle things; she could count upon him to do that.
Francis Markrute, anxious and disturbed by Tristram’s message and her absence, met her as she came in and drew her into the library.
The butler had handed her her husband’s note, but she held it listlessly in her hand, without opening it. She was still too numb with sorrow to take notice of ordinary things. Her uncle saw immediately that something terrible had happened.
“Zara, dear child,” he said, and folded her in his arms with affectionate kindness, “tell me everything.”
She was past tears now, but her voice sounded strange with the tragedy in it.
“Mirko is dead, Uncle Francis,” was all she said. “He ran away from Bournemouth because Agatha, the Morleys’ child, broke his violin. He loved it, you know Maman had given it to him. He came in the night, all alone, ill with fever, to find his father, and he broke a blood vessel this morning, and died in my arms—there, in the poor lodging.”
Francis Markrute had drawn her to the sofa now, and stroked her hands. He was deeply moved.
“My poor, dear child! My poor Zara!” he said.
Then, with most pathetic entreaty she went on,
“Oh, Uncle Francis, can’t you forgive poor Mimo, now? Maman is dead and Mirko is dead, and if you ever, some day, have a child yourself, you may know what this poor father is suffering. Won’t you help us? He is foolish always—unpractical—and he is distracted with grief. You are so strong—won’t you see about the funeral for my little love?”
“Of course I will, dear girl,” he answered. “You must have no more distresses. Leave everything to me.” And he bent and kissed her white cheek, while he tenderly began to remove the pins from her fur toque.