He stood there shaking with passion. What should he do? What step should he take? Then Binko, who had emerged from his basket, gave a tiny half-bark—he wanted to express his sympathy and excitement. If his beloved master was transported with rage, it was evidently the moment for him to show some feeling also, and to go and seize by the throat man or beast who had caused this tumult.
His round, faithful, adoring eyes were upturned, and every fat wrinkle quivered with love and readiness to obey the smallest command, while he snorted and slobbered with emotion. Something about him touched Michael, and made him stoop and seize him in his arms and roll the solid mass on the bed in rough, loving appreciation.
“You understand, old man!” he cried fondly. “You’d go for Henry or anyone—or hold her for me”—And then the passion died out of him, as the dog licked his hand. “But we have been brutes once too often, Binko, and now we’ll have to pay the price. She belongs to Henry, who’s behaved like a gentleman—not to us any more.”
So he rang for his valet and went to his bath quietly, and thus ended the storm of that day.
And Henry Fordyce in London was awaiting the arrival of his well-beloved, who, with the Princess and Mr. Cloudwater, was due to be at the Ritz Hotel that evening, when they would dine all together and spend a time of delight.
And far away in Brittany, the Pere Anselme read in his book of meditations:
It is when the sky is
clearest that the heaviest bolt falls—it
would be well for all good Christians to be on the alert.
And chancing to look from his cottage window, he perceived that a heavy rain cloud had gathered over the Chateau of Heronac.
In the morning before they left Heronac, Sabine’s elderly maid, Simone, came to her with the face she always wore when her speech might contain any reference to the past. She had been with Sabine ever since the week after her marriage, and was a widow and a Parisian, with a kind and motherly heart.
“Will madame take the blue despatch-box with her as usual?” she asked.
Sabine hesitated for a second. She had never gone anywhere without it in all those five years—but now everything was changed. It might be wiser to leave it safely at Heronac. Then her eyes fell upon it, and a slight shudder came over her of the kind which people describe as “a goose walking over your grave.”
No, she could not leave it behind.
“I will take it, Simone.”
“As madame wishes,” and the maid went on her way.
* * * * *
When Sabine had reached London late on that evening in the June of 1907 on her leaving Scotland she found, in response to the wire she had sent him from Edinburgh, Mr. Parsons waiting for her at the station, his astonishment as great as his perturbation.