“Yes, sir,” he made reply and departed.
And then in my wickedness I began to commit a desecration on the memory of my beautiful and honored Grandmamma Carruthers. I walked to that glass case in which reposed that gown of the beautiful flowered silk and took it therefrom and laid it upon a chair above the soiled riding breeches of corduroy I had so lately discarded. I opened the carved wooden box on the table underneath and took from it the silver slippers and the stockings of silk, also the lace fan and the silver band for the hair. Thereupon I walked to my mirror and commenced to make a toilet of great care but of a great rapidity.
My first action was to take down that lovelock and with the oil of roses to lay it in its accustomed place upon my cheek, which burned with a beautiful rose of shame and at the same moment with some other emotion that I did not understand; which emotion also made my eyes as bright as the night stars out in that Camp Heaven. The silver band held closely the rest of my mop and gave it the appearance of the very close coiffure which is the fashion of this day, and one very sweet young rose I put into it just above the curl with an effect of great and wicked beauty.
The coiffure having been accomplished, the rest of the toilet, from the slippers of the cloth of silver to the edge of fine old lace, now the color of rich cream, that rested upon the arch of my bare white breast was only a matter of a few moments, and then I stood away from my mirror and beheld myself therein.
“You are as beautiful as you are wicked, Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, but you go to your death in a manner befitting a grande dame of your ancient house of France, whose daughters once showed the rabble how to approach a guillotine, costumed in magnificence. Descend for that cold knife to your heart!” And so speaking, I picked up my fan and made my way through the hall to the halfway of the wide steps. At that point a commotion occurred.
“Lordee! It’s the old lady come to ha’nt!” exclaimed my good Bonbon and with a groan he fled into the darkness in the back regions of the house.
And it happened that his loud cry brought a response which came to me before I was quite in readiness for it. As I reached the last step of the wide staircase, under the bright light I raised my eyes, and behold, the Gouverneur Faulkner to whom I had descended for the purpose of mortal combat, stood before me!
And was it that cruel and wicked and cold Gouverneur Faulkner who was to scourge me and keep me in the house of my Uncle, the General Robert, for a dishonor? It was not. Before me stood a tall man who was of a great paleness and a terrible fatigue also, covered with the dust of a long, hard ride, with eyes that were full of a fear, who stood and looked at me with not one word of any kind.