“Still, Mademoiselle,” said he, “I am glad you have promised. This is an uncertain world. One never can tell what will come with the to-morrows.”
“I can,” the girl said, with a little tired smile that Ste. Marie did not understand. “I can tell. I can see all the to-morrows—a long, long row of them. I know just what they’re going to be like—to the very end.”
But the man rose to his feet and looked down upon her as she sat before him. And he shook his head.
“You are mistaken,” he said. “Pardon me, but you are mistaken. No one can see to-morrow—or the end of anything. The end may surprise you very much.”
“I wish it would!” cried Mlle. O’Hara. “Oh, I wish it would!”
* * * * *
THE JOINT IN THE ARMOR
Ste. Marie put down a book as O’Hara came into the room and rose to meet his visitor.
“I’m compelled,” said the Irishman, “to put you on your honor to-day if you are to go out as usual. Michel has been sent on an errand, and I am busy with letters. I shall have to put you on your honor not to make any effort to escape. Is that agreed to? I shall trust you altogether. You could manage to scramble over the wall somehow, I suppose, and get clean away, but I think you won’t try it if you give your word.”
“I give my word gladly,” said Ste. Marie. “And thanks very much. You’ve been uncommonly kind to me here. I—regret more than I can say that we—that we find ourselves on opposite sides, as it were. I wish we were fighting for the same cause.”
The Irishman looked at the younger man sharply for an instant, and he made as if he would speak, but seemed to think better of it. In the end he said:
“Yes, quite so. Quite so. Of course you understand that any consideration I have used toward you has been by way of making amends for—for an unfortunate occurrence.”
Ste. Marie laughed.
“The poison,” said he. “Yes, I know. And of course I know who was at the bottom of that. By the way, I met Stewart in the garden the other day. Did he tell you? He was rather nervous and tried to shoot me, but he had left his revolver at the house—at least it wasn’t in his pocket when he reached for it.”
O’Hara’s hard face twitched suddenly, as if in anger, and he gave an exclamation under his breath, so the younger man inferred that “old Charlie” had not spoken of their encounter. And after that the Irishman once more turned a sharp, frowning glance upon his prisoner as if he were puzzled about something. But, as before, he stopped short of speech and at last turned away.
“Just a moment!” said the younger man. He asked: “Is it fair to inquire how long I may expect to be confined here? I don’t want to presume upon your good-nature too far, but if you could tell me I should be glad to know.”