He would go back to the Cafe de Paris, and, if the man was there, call him to account, and if not, perhaps he could obtain his name. So out he went.
But the waiters vowed they knew nothing of the gentleman; the whole party had been perfect strangers, and they had no idea as to where they had gone on. So this enraged young Englishman spent the third night of his honeymoon in a hunt round the haunts of Paris, but with no success; and at about six o’clock in the morning came back baffled but still raging, and thoroughly wearied out.
And all this while his bride could not sleep, and in spite of her anger was a prey to haunting fears. What if the two had met and there had been bloodshed! A completely possible case! And several times in the night she got out of her bed and went and listened at the communicating doors; but there was no sound of Tristram, and about five o’clock, worn out with the anxiety and injustice of everything, she fell into a restless doze, only to wake again at seven, with a lead weight at her heart. She could not bear it any longer! She must know for certain if he had come in! She slipped on her dressing-gown, and noiselessly stole to the door, and with the greatest caution unlocked it, and, turning the handle, peeped in.
Yes, there he was, sound asleep! His window was wide open, with the curtains pushed back, so the daylight streamed in on his face. He had been too tired to care.
Zara turned round quickly to reenter her room, but in her terror of being discovered she caught the trimming of her dressing-gown on the handle of the door and without her being aware of it a small bunch of worked ribbon roses fell off.
Then she got back into bed, relieved in mind as to him but absolutely quaking at what she had done and at the impossibly embarrassing position she would have placed herself in, if he had awakened and known that she had come!
And the first thing Tristram saw, when some hours later he was aroused by the pouring in of the sun, was the little torn bunch of silk roses lying close to her door.
He sprang from bed and picked them up. What could they possibly mean? They were her roses, certainly—he remembered she wore the dressing-gown that first evening at Dover, when he had gone to her to give her the gardenias. And they certainly had not been there when at six o’clock he had come in. He would in that case have seen them against the pale carpet.
For one exquisite moment he thought they were a message and then he noticed the ribbon had been wrenched off and was torn.
No, they were no conscious message, but they did mean that she had been in his room while he slept.
Why had she done this thing? He knew she hated him—it was no acting—and she had left him the night’ before even unusually incensed. What possible reason could she have, then, for coming into his room? He felt wild with excitement. He would see if, as usual, the door between them was locked. He tried it gently. Yes, it was.