“I shall remember.”
“Go, then, and leave me for this time,” she besought him. But still he could not go, and still the Lady Catharine could not bid him more sternly to depart. Youth—youth, and love, and fate were in that room; and these would have their way.
The beseeching gaze of an eye singular in its power rested on the girl, a gaze filled with all the strange, half mandatory pleading of youth and yearning. Once more there came a shift in the tidal currents of the woman’s heart. The Lady Catharine slowly became conscious of a delicious helplessness, of a sinking and yielding which she could not resist. Her head lost power to be erect. It slipped forward on a shoulder waiting as by right. Her breath came in soft measure, and unconsciously a hand was raised to touch the cheek pressed down to hers. John Law kissed her once upon the lips. Suddenly, without plan—in spite of all plan—the seal of a strange fate was set forever on her life!
For a long moment they stood thus, until at length she raised a face pale and sharp, and pushed back against his breast a hand that trembled.
“’Tis wondrous strange,” she whispered.
“Ask nothing,” said John Law, “fear nothing. Only believe, as I believe.”
Neither John Law nor the Lady Catharine Knollys saw what was passing just without the room. They did not see the set face which looked down from the stairway. Through the open door Mary Connynge could see the young man as he stepped out of the door, could see the conduct of the girl now left alone in the drawing-room. She saw the Lady Catharine sink down upon the seat, her head drooped in thought, her hand lying languidly out before her. Pale now and distraught, the Lady Catharine Knollys wist little of what went on before her. She had full concern with the tumult which waged riot in her soul.
Mary Connynge turned, and started back up the stair unseen. She paused, her yellow eyes gone narrow, her little hand clutched tight upon the rail.
IN SEARCH OF THE QUARREL
As Law turned away from the door of the Knollys mansion, he walked with head bent forward, not looking upon the one hand or the other. He raised his eyes only when a passing horseman had called thrice to him.
“What!” cried Sir Arthur Pembroke. “I little looked to see you here, Mr. Law. I thought it more likely you were engaged in other business—”
“Meaning by that—?”
“What should I mean, except that I supposed you preparing for your little affair with Wilson?”
“My little affair?”