“I am sorry to say my interview with your brother was fruitless.
“I happened to be sitting in the Park just now,
and I want to wish you every happiness before I go.
It has been the greatest pleasure to know you.
I shall never have a thought of you that will not
be my pride; nor a memory that will not help me to
believe that life is good. If I am tempted to
feel that things are dark, I shall remember that you
are breathing this same mortal air. And to beauty
and joy’ I shall take off my hat with the greater
reverence, that once I was permitted to walk and talk,
with you. And so, good-bye, and God bless you.
“Your faithful servant,
Her cheeks burned, quick sighs escaped her lips; she read the letter again, but before getting to the end could not see the words for mist. If in that letter there had been a word of complaint or even of regret! She could not let him go like this, without good-bye, without any explanation at all. He should not think of her as a cold, stony flirt, who had been merely stealing a few weeks’ amusement out of him. She would explain to him at all events that it had not been that. She would make him understand that it was not what he thought—that something in her wanted—wanted——! Her mind was all confused. “What was it?” she thought: “What did I do?” And sore with anger at herself, she screwed the letter up in her glove, and ran out. She walked swiftly down to Piccadilly, and crossed into the Green Park. There she passed Lord Malvezin and a friend strolling up towards Hyde Park Corner, and gave them a very faint bow. The composure of those two precise and well-groomed figures sickened her just then. She wanted to run, to fly to this meeting that should remove from him the odious feelings he must have, that she, Barbara Caradoc, was a vulgar enchantress, a common traitress and coquette! And his letter—without a syllable of reproach! Her cheeks burned so, that she could not help trying to hide them from people who passed.
As she drew nearer to his rooms she walked slower, forcing herself to think what she should do, what she should let him do! But she continued resolutely forward. She would not shrink now—whatever came of it! Her heart fluttered, seemed to stop beating, fluttered again. She set her teeth; a sort of desperate hilarity rose in her. It was an adventure! Then she was gripped by the feeling that had come to her on the roof. The whole thing was bizarre, ridiculous! She stopped, and drew the letter from her glove. It might be ridiculous, but it was due from her; and closing her lips very tight, she walked on. In thought she was already standing close to him, her eyes shut, waiting, with her heart beating wildly, to know what she would feel when his lips had spoken, perhaps touched her face or hand. And she had a sort of mirage vision of herself, with eyelashes resting on her cheeks, lips a little parted, arms helpless at her sides. Yet, incomprehensibly, his figure was invisible. She discovered then that she was standing before his door.