She had quail and salad and a wonderful ice—better than any, even on the day of the holiday for Moravia’s wedding far away in Rome; and there were marrons glaces, too, and other divine bon-bons—and strawberries and cream!
She had never enjoyed herself so much in her whole life. Her perfectly innocent prattle enchanted Michael more and more with its touches of shrewd common sense. He drank a good deal of champagne, too—and finally, when it came to cutting the cake time, a wild thought began to enter his head.
The icing was rather hard, and he had to help her—and stood beside her, very near.
She looked up smilingly and saw something in his face. It caused her a sudden wild emotion of she knew not what—and then she felt very nervous and full of fear.
She moved abruptly away from him to the other side of the table, leaving the cake—and stood looking at him with great, troubled, violet eyes.
He followed her.
“You little, sweet darling!” he whispered, his voice very deep. “Why should you ever go away from me—I want to teach you to love me, Sabine. You belong to me, you know—you are mine. I shall not let you leave me! I shall keep you and hold you close!”
And he clasped her in his arms.
For he was a man, you see—and the moment had come!
FIVE YEARS AFTERWARDS
Mr. Elias Cloudwater came up the steps of the Savoy Hotel at Carlsbad, and called to the Arab who was waiting about:
“Has the Princess come in from her drive yet?”
He was informed that she had not, and he sat down in the verandah to wait. He was both an American gentleman and an American father, therefore he was accustomed to waiting for his women folk and did not fidget. He read the New York Herald, and when he had devoured the share list, he glanced at the society news and read that, among others who were expected at the Bohemian health resort that day, was Lord Fordyce, motoring, for a stay of three weeks for the cure.
He did not know this gentleman personally, and the fact would not have arrested his attention at all only that he chanced to be interested in English politics. He wondered vaguely if he would be an agreeable acquisition to the place, and then turned to more thrilling things. Presently a slender young woman came down the path through the woods and leisurely entered the gate. Mr. Cloudwater watched her, and a kindly smile lit his face. He thought how pretty she was, and how glad he was that she had joined Moravia and himself again this summer. The months when she went off by herself to her house in Brittany always seemed very long. He saw her coming from far enough to be able to take in every detail about her. Extreme slenderness and extreme grace were her distinctive marks. The face was childish and rounded in outline, but when you looked into the violet eyes there was some shadow of a story hidden there. She was about twenty-two years old, and was certainly not at Carlsbad for any reasons of cure, for her glowing complexion told a tale of radiant health.