And when Tristram saw it his heart gave a great bound. So it had stayed behind, when he had returned the others, and was there now to hurt him with remembrance of what might have been! He was unable to control the violent emotion which shook him. He went to the window and opened it wide: the moon was rather over, but still blazed in the sky. Then he bent down and passionately kissed the little bud, while a scorching mist gathered in his eyes.
So at last the Wednesday morning came—and they could go back to England. From that Saturday night until they left Paris Tristram’s manner of icy, polite indifference to his bride never changed. She had no more quaking shocks nor any fear of too much ardor! He avoided every possible moment of her society he could, and when forced to be with her seemed aloof and bored.
And the freezing manner of Zara was caused no longer by haughty self-defense but because she was unconsciously numb at heart.
Unknown, undreamed-of emotion came over her, whenever she chanced to find him close, and during his long absences her thoughts followed him—sometimes with wonderment.
Just as they were going down to start for the train on the Wednesday morning a telegram was put into her hand. It was addressed “La Baronne de Tancred,” and she guessed at once this would be Mimo’s idea of her name. Tristram, who was already down the steps by the concierge’s desk, turned and saw her open it, with a look of intense strain. He saw that as she read her eyes widened and stared out in front of them for a moment, and that her face grew pale.
For Mimo had wired, “Mirko not quite so well.” She crumpled the blue paper in her hand, and followed her husband through the bowing personnel of the hotel into the automobile. She controlled herself and was even able to give one of her rare smiles in farewell, but when they started she leaned back, and again her face went white. Tristram was moved. Whom was her telegram from? She did not tell him and he would not ask, but the feeling that there were in her life, things and interests of which he knew nothing did not please him. And this particular thing—what was it? Was it from a man? It had caused her some deep emotion—he could plainly see that. He longed to ask her but was far too proud, and their terms had grown so distant he hardly liked to express even solicitude, which, however, he did.
“I hope you have not had any bad news?”
Then she turned her eyes upon him, and he saw that she had hardly heard him; they looked blank.
“What?” she asked vaguely; and then, recollecting herself confusedly, she went on, “No—not exactly—but something about which I must think.”
So he was shut out of her confidence. He felt that, and carefully avoided taking any further notice of her.
When they got to the station he suddenly perceived she was not following him as he made way for her in the crowd, but had gone over to the telegraph office by herself.