“I think he will be all right,” she said, “save for the pain. He was only stunned.”
And Hartley nodded. “He seems to be breathing quite naturally,” said he. “That’s arranged, then. The car will be here in waiting, and I shall come with it if I can. Tell him when he wakes.” He put out his hand to her, and the girl gave him hers very listlessly but smiling. She wished he would go and leave her alone.
Then in a moment more he did go, and she heard his quick steps down through the trees, and heard, a little later, the engine of the motor-car start up with a sudden loud volley of explosions. And so she was left to her solitary watch. She noticed, as she turned to go indoors, that the blackness of the night was just beginning to gray toward dawn.
* * * * *
THE SCALES OF INJUSTICE
Ste. Marie slept soundly until mid-morning—that it to say, about ten o’clock—and then awoke with a dull pain in his head and a sensation of extreme giddiness which became something like vertigo when he attempted to rise. However, with the aid of the old Michel he got somehow up-stairs to his room and made a rather sketchy toilet.
Coira came to him there, and while he lay still across the bed told him about the happenings of the night after he had received his injury. She told him also that the motor was waiting for him outside the wall, and that Richard Hartley had sent a message by the chauffeur to say that he was very busy in Paris making arrangements about Stewart, who had come out of his strange state of half-insensibility only to rave in a delirium.
“So,” she said, “you can go now whenever you are ready. Arthur is with his family, Captain Stewart is under guard, and your work is done. You ought to be glad—even though you are suffering pain.”
Ste. Marie looked up at her. “Do I seem glad, Coira?” said he.
And she said: “You will be glad to-morrow—and always, I hope and pray. Always! Always!”
The man held one hand over his aching eyes.
“I have,” he said, “queer half-memories. I wish I could remember distinctly.”
He looked up at her again.
“I dropped down by the gate in the wall. When I awoke I was in a room in the house. How did that happen?”
“Oh,” she said, turning her face away, “we got you up to the house almost at once.”
But Ste. Marie frowned thoughtfully.
“‘We’? Who do you mean by ’we’?”
“Well, then, I,” the girl said. “It was not difficult.”
“Coira,” cried the man, “do you mean that you carried me bodily all that long distance? You?”
“Carried or dragged,” she said. “As much one as the other. It was not very difficult. I’m strong for a woman.”
“Oh, child! child!” he cried. And he said: “I remember more. It was you who held Stewart and kept him from shooting me. I heard the shot and I heard you scream. The last thought I had was that you had been killed in saving me. That’s what I went out into the blank thinking.”