“Madam, I would God it might be forever!” said Law again. The old stubborn nature was showing once more, but under it something deeper, softer, tenderer.
A sudden panic fear called at the heart of her to whom he spoke. Two rosy spots shone in her cheeks, and as she gazed, her eyes showed the veiled softening of woman’s gentleness. There fell a silence.
“Madam, I could feel that this were Sadler’s Wells over again,” said Law a moment later.
But now the carriage had arrived at the destination named by Lady Catharine. Law sprang out, hat in hand, and assisted Lady Catharine to the curb. A passing flower girl, gaily offering her wares, paused as the carriage drew up. Law turned quickly and caught from her as many roses as his hand could grasp, handing her in return half as much coin as her smaller palm could hold. He turned to the Lady Catharine, and bowed with that grace which was the talk of a world of gallants. In his hand he extended a flower.
“Madam, as before!” he said.
There was a sob in his voice. Their eyes met fairly, unmasked as they had not been for years. Tears came into the man’s eyes, the first that had ever sat there; tears for the past, tears for that sweetness which once might have been.
“’Tis for the king! They weep for the king!” sang out the hard voice of the flower girl, ironically, as she skipped away. “Ohe, for the king, for the king!”
“Nay, for the queen!” said John Law, as he gazed into the eyes of Catharine Knollys.
SEARCH THOU MY HEART
“Only believe me, Lady Catharine, and I shall do everything I promised years ago—I shall lay all France at your feet. But if you deny me thus always, I shall make all France a mockery.”
“Monsieur is fresh from the South of France,” replied the Lady Catharine Knollys. “Has Gascon wine perhaps put Gascon speech into his mouth?”
“Oh, laugh if you like,” exclaimed Law, rising and pacing across the great room in which these two had met. “Laugh and mock, but we shall see!”
“Granted that Mr. Law is well within his customary modesty,” replied Lady Catharine, “and granted even that Mr. Law has all France in the hollow of his hand to-day, to do with as he likes, I must confess I see not why France should suffer because I myself have found it difficult to endorse Mr. Law’s personal code of morals.”