And Zara heard him from her side, and stiffened in her bed with all the expression of a fierce wolfhound putting its hackles up.
Yes, the danger of the ways of men was not over! If she had not unconsciously remembered to lock the door when she had returned from her terrifying adventure he would have come in!
So these two thrilled with different emotions and trembled, and there was the locked harrier between them. And then Tristram rang for his valet and ordered his bath. He would dress quickly, and ask casually if she would breakfast in the sitting-room. It was so late, almost eleven, and they could have it at twelve upstairs—not in the restaurant as he had yesterday intended. He must find out about the roses; he could not endure to pass the whole day in wonder and doubt.
And Zara, too, started dressing. It was better under the circumstances to be armed at all points, and she felt safer and calmer with Henriette in the room.
So a few minutes before twelve they met in the sitting-room.
Her whole expression was on the defensive: he saw that at once.
The waiters would be coming in with the breakfast soon. Would there be time to talk to her, or had he better postpone it until they were certain to be alone? He decided upon this latter course, and just said a cold “Good morning,” and turned to the New York Herald and looked at the news.
Zara felt more reassured.
So they presently sat down to their breakfast, each ready to play the game.
They spoke of the theaters—the one they had arranged to go to this Saturday night was causing all Paris to laugh.
“It will be a jolly good thing to laugh,” Tristram said—and Zara agreed.
He made no allusion to the events of the night before, and she hardly spoke at all. And at last the repast was over, and the waiters had left the room.
Tristram got up, after his coffee and liqueur, but he lit no cigar; he went to one of the great windows which look out on the Colonne Vendome, and then he came back. Zara was sitting upon the heliotrope Empire sofa and had picked up the paper again.
He stood before her, with an expression upon his face which ought to have melted any woman.
“Zara,” he said softly, “I want you to tell me, why did you come into my room?”
Her great eyes filled with startled horror and surprise, and her white cheeks grew bright pink with an exquisite flush.
“I?”—and she clenched her hands. How did he know? Had he seen her, then? But he evidently did know, and there was no use to lie. “I was so—frightened—that—”
Tristram took a step nearer and sat down by her side. He saw the confession was being dragged from her, and he gloried in it and would not help her out.
She moved further from him, then, with grudging reluctance, she continued,
“There can be such unpleasant quarrels with those horrible men. It—was so very late—I—I—wished to be sure that you had come safely in.”