If she had not been so lately and so seriously ill—if all her fine faculties had been in their full vigor—perhaps some idea might have come to her; but her soul was so completely pure it did not naturally grasp such things, so even that is doubtful.
“Tristram—” she said, and there was the most piteous appeal in her tones, which almost brought the tears to his eyes. “Please—I know you are angry with me for not telling you about Mirko and Mimo, but I had promised not to, and the poor, little one is dead. I will tell you everything presently, if you wish, but don’t ask me to now. Oh! if you must go from me soon—you know best—I will not keep you, but—but please won’t you take me with you to-day—back to Wrayth—just until I get quite well? My uncle is away, and I am so lonely, and I have not any one else on earth.”
Her eyes had a pleading, frightened look, like a child’s who is afraid to be left alone in the dark.
He could not resist her. And, after all, her sin was of long ago—she could have done nothing since she had been his wife—why should she not come to Wrayth? She could stay there if she wished, for a while after he had gone. Only one thing he must know.
“Where is Count Sykypri?” he asked hoarsely.
“Mimo has gone away, back to his own country,” she said simply, wondering at his tone. “Alas! I shall perhaps never see him again.”
A petrifying sensation of astonishment crept over Tristram. With all her meek gentleness she had still the attitude of a perfectly innocent person. It must be because she was only half English, and foreigners perhaps had different points of reasoning on all such questions.
The man had gone, then—out of her life. Yes, he would take her back to Wrayth if it would be any comfort to her.
“Will you get ready now?” he said, controlling his voice into a note of sternness which he was far from feeling. “Because I am sure you ought not to be out late in the damp air. I was going in the open car, and to drive myself, and it takes four hours. The closed one is not in London, as you know.” And then he saw she was not fit for this, so he said anxiously, “But are you sure you ought to travel to-day at all? You look so awfully pale.”
For there was a great difference in her present transparent, snowy whiteness, with the blue-circled eyes, to her habitual gardenia hue; even her lips were less red.
“Yes, yes, I am quite able to go,” she said, rising to show him she was all right. “I will be ready in ten minutes. Henriette can come by train with my things.” And she walked towards the door, which he held open for her. And here she paused, and then went on to the lift. He followed her quickly.
“Are you sure you can go up alone?” he asked anxiously. “Or may I come?”
“Indeed, I am quite well,” she answered, with a little pathetic smile. “I will not trouble you. Wait, I shall not be long.” And so she went up.