“Mr. Field,” she said, and though her voice shook she spoke with resolution, “if I were to consent to this—extraordinary suggestion; if I married you—you would not ask—or expect—more than that?”
“If you consent to marry me,” he said, “it will be without conditions.”
“Then I cannot consent,” she said. “Please let me go!”
He released her instantly, and, turning, picked up her cloak.
But she moved away to the window and stood there with her back to him, gazing down upon the quiet river. Its pearly stillness was like a dream. The rush and roar of London’s many wheels had died to a monotone.
The man waited behind her in silence. She had released the blind-cord, and was plucking at it mechanically, with fingers that trembled.
Suddenly the blast of a siren from a vessel in mid-stream shattered the stillness. The girl at the window quivered from head to foot as if it had pierced her. And then with a sharp movement she turned.
“Mr. Field!” she said, and stopped.
He waited with absolute composure.
She made a small but desperate gesture—the gesture of a creature trapped and helpless.
“I—will do it!” she said in a voice that was barely audible. “But if—if you ever come—to repent—don’t blame me!”
“I shall not repent,” he said.
She passed on rapidly.
“And—you will do your best—to save—Burleigh Wentworth?”
“I will save him,” said Field.
She paused a moment; then moved towards him, as if compelled against her will.
He put the cloak around her shoulders, and then, as she fumbled with it uncertainly, he fastened it himself.
“Your veil?” he said.
She made a blind movement. Her self-control was nearly gone. With absolute steadiness he drew it down over her face.
“Have you a conveyance waiting?” he asked.
“Yes,” she whispered.
He turned to the door. He was in the act of opening it when she stayed him.
“One moment!” she said.
He stopped at once, standing before her with his level eyes looking straight at her.
She spoke hurriedly behind her veil.
“Promise me, you will never—never let him know—of this!”
He made a grave bow, his eyes unchangeably upon her.
“Certainly,” he said.
She made an involuntary movement; her hands clenched. She stood as if she were about to make some further appeal. But he opened the door and held it for her, and such was the finality of his action that she was obliged to pass out.
He followed her into the lift and took her down in unbroken silence.
A taxi awaited her. He escorted her to it.
“Good night!” he said then.
She hesitated an instant. Then, without speaking, she gave him her hand. For a moment his fingers grasped hers.
“You may depend upon me,” he said.