He seemed to speak to her like one in a dream. He was numb with his growing misery and the struggle in his mind: he must leave her—the situation was unendurable—he could not stay, because in her present softened mood it was possible that if he lost control of himself and caressed her she might yield to him; and, then, he knew no resolutions on earth could hold him from taking her to his heart. And she must never really be his wife. The bliss of it might be all that was divine at first, but there would be always the hideous skeleton beneath, ready to peep out and mock at them: and then if they should have children? They were both so young that would be sure to happen; and this thought, which had once, in that very room, in his happy musings, given him so much joy, now caused him to quiver with extra pain. For a woman with such a background should not be the mother of a Tancred of Wrayth.
Tristram was no Puritan, but the ingrained pride in his old name he could not eliminate from his blood. So he kept himself with an iron reserve. He never once looked at her, and spoke as coldly as ice; and they got through luncheon. And Zara said, suddenly, she would like to go to church.
It was at three o’clock, so he ordered the motor without a word. She was not well enough to walk there through the park.
He could not let her go alone, so he changed his plans and went with her. They did not speak, all the way.
She had never been into the church before, and was struck with the fine windows, and the monuments of the Guiscards, and the famous tomb of the Crusader in the wall of the chancel pew where they sat; and all through the service she gazed at his carven face, so exactly like Tristram’s, with the same, stern look.
And a wild, miserable rebellion filled her heart, and then a cold fear; and she passionately prayed to God to protect him. For what if he should go on some dangerous hunting expedition, and something should happen, and she should never see him again! And then, as she stood while they sang the final hymn, she stopped and caught her breath with a sob. And Tristram glanced at her in apprehension, and he wondered if he should have to suffer anything further, or if his misery were at its height.
The whole congregation were so interested to see the young pair, and they had to do some handshakings, as they came out. What would all these good people think, Tristram wondered with bitter humor, when they heard that he had gone away on a long tour, leaving his beautiful bride alone, not a month after their marriage? But he was past caring what they thought, one way or another, now.
Zara went to her room when they got back to the house, and when she came down to tea he was not there, and she had hers alone with Jake.
She felt almost afraid to go to dinner. It was so evident he was avoiding her. And while she stood undecided her maid brought in a note: