“We shall have to stay here for the whole, boring week,” he announced when at last coffee was on the table and they were alone. “There are certain obligations one’s position obliges one to conform to. You understand, I expect. I will try to make the time as easy to bear for you as I can. Will you tell me what theaters you have not already seen? We can go somewhere every night, and in the daytime you have perhaps shopping to do; and—I know Paris quite well. I can amuse myself.”
Zara did not feel enthusiastically grateful, but she said, “Thank you,” in a quiet voice, and Tristram, rang the bell and asked for the list of the places of amusement, and in the most stiff, self-contained manner he chose, with her, a different one for every night.
Then he lit a cigar deliberately, and walked towards the door.
“Good-night, Milady,” he said nonchalantly, and then went out.
And Zara sat still by the table and unconsciously pulled the petals off an unoffending rose; and when she realized what she had done she was aghast!
It was not until about five o’clock the next day that he came into the sitting-room again.
Milor had gone to the races, and had left a note for Miladi in the morning, the maid had said.
And Zara, as she lay back on her pillows, had opened it with a strange thrill.
“You won’t be troubled with me to-day,” she read. “I am going out with some old friends to Maisons Liafitte. I have said you want to rest from the journey, as one has to say something. I have arranged for us to dine at the Cafe de Paris at 7:30, and go to the Gymnase. Tell Higgins, my valet, if you change the plan.” And the note was not even signed!
Well, it appeared she had nothing further to fear from him; she could breathe much relieved. And now for her day of quiet rest.
But when she had had her lonely lunch and her letters to her uncle and Mirko were written, she found herself drumming aimlessly on the window panes, and wondering if she would go out.
She had no friends in Paris whom she wanted to see. Her life there with her family had been entirely devoted to them alone. But it was a fine day and there is always something to do in Paris—though what then, particularly, she had not decided; perhaps she would go to the Louvre.
And then she sank down into the big sofa, opposite the blazing wood fire, and gradually fell fast asleep. She slept, with unbroken deepness, until late in the afternoon, and was, in fact, still asleep there when Tristram came in.
He did not see her at first; the lights were not on and it was almost dark in the streets. The fire, too, had burnt low. He came forward, and then went back again and switched on the lamps; and, with the blaze, Zara sat up and rubbed her eyes. One great plait of her hair had become loosened and fell at the side of her head, and she looked like a rosy, sleepy child.