Left alone, Lady Catharine stood for a moment pale and motionless, in the center of the room. She strode then to the window and stood looking fixedly out. Her whole figure was tense, rigid. Yonder, over there, across the gabled roofs of Paris, they were clamoring at the door of him who had given back Paris to the king, and Franceagain to its people. They were assailing him—this man so long unfaltering, so insistent on his ambitions, so—so steadfast! Could she call him steadfast? And they would seize him in spite of the courage which she knew would never fail. They would kill, they would rend, they would trample him! They would crush that glorious body, abase the lips that had spoke so well of love!
The clenched fingers of Lady Catharine broke apart, her arms were flung wide in a gesture of resolution. She turned from the window, looking here and there about the room. Unconsciously she stopped before the great cheval-glass that hung against the wall. She stood there, looking at her own image, keenly, deeply.
She saw indeed a woman fit for sweet usages of love, comely and rounded, deep-bosomed, her oval face framed in the piled masses of glorious red-brown hair. But her wide, blue eyes, scarce seeing this outward form, stared into the soul of that other whom she witnessed.
It was as though the Lady Catharine Knollys at last saw another self and recognized it! A quick, hard sob broke from her throat. In haste she flew, now to one part of the room, now to another, picking up first this article and then that which seemed of need. And so at last she hurried to the bell-cord.
“Quick,” cried she, as the servant at length appeared. “Quick! Do not delay an instant! My carriage at once!”
THAT WHICH REMAINED
As for John Law, all through that fatal day which meant for him the ruin of his ambitions, he continued in the icy calm which, for days past, had distinguished him. He discontinued his ordinary employments, and spent some hours in sorting and destroying numbers of papers and documents. His faithful servant, the Swiss, Henri, he commanded to make ready his apparel for a journey.
“At six this evening,” said he, “Henri, we shall be ready to depart. Let us be quite ready well before that time.”
“Monsieur is leaving Paris?” asked the Swiss, respectfully.
“Perhaps for a stay of some duration?”
“Quite so, indeed, Henri.”
“Then, sir,” expostulated the Swiss, “it would require a day or so for me to properly arrange your luggage.”
“Not at all,” replied Law. “Two valises will suffice, not more, and I shall perhaps not need even these.”
“Not all the apparel, the many coats, the jewels—”
“Do not trouble over them.”
“But what disposition shall I make—?”
“None at all. Leave all these things as they are. But stay—this package which I shall prepare for you—take it to the regent, and have it marked in his care and for the Parliament of France.”