With The Sparrow Hugh was ushered into a big, sunny room overlooking the beautiful garden where climbing geraniums ran riot with carnations and violets, and for some minutes they waited. From the windows spread a wide view of the calm sapphire sea.
Then suddenly the door opened.
THE STORY OF MADEMOISELLE
Both men turned and before them they saw the plainly dressed figure of a beautiful woman, and behind her an elderly, grey-faced man.
For a few seconds the woman stared at The Sparrow blankly. Then she turned her gaze upon Hugh.
Her lips parted. Suddenly she gave vent to a loud cry, almost of pain, and placing both hands to her head, gasped:
It was Yvonne Ferad. And the cry was one of recognition.
Hugh dashed forward with the doctor, for she was on the point of collapse at recognizing them. But in a few seconds she recovered herself, though she was deathly pale and much agitated.
“Yvonne!” exclaimed The Sparrow in a low, kindly voice. “Then you know who we really are? Your reason has returned?”
“Yes,” she answered in French. “I remember who you are. Ah! But—but it is all so strange!” she cried wildly. “I—I—I can’t think! At last! Yes. I know. I recollect! You!” And she stared at Hugh. “You—you are Monsieur Henfrey!”
“That is so, mademoiselle.”
“Ah, messieurs,” remarked the elderly doctor, who was standing behind his patient. “She recognized you both—after all! The sudden shock at seeing you has accomplished what we have failed all these months to accomplish. It is efficacious only in some few cases. In this it is successful. But be careful. I beg of you not to overtax poor mademoiselle’s brain with many questions. I will leave you.”
And he withdrew, closing the door softly after him.
For a few minutes The Sparrow spoke to Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo about general things.
“I have been very ill,” she said in a low, tremulous voice. “I could think of nothing since my accident, until now—and now”—and she gazed around her with a new interest upon her handsome countenance—“and now I remember!—but it all seems too hazy and indistinct.”
“You recollect things—eh?” asked The Sparrow in a kindly voice, placing his hand upon her shoulder and looking into her tired eyes.
“Yes. I remember. All the past is slowly returning to me. It seems ages and ages since I last met you, Mr.—Mr. Peters,” and she laughed lightly. “Peters—that is the name?”
“It is, mademoiselle,” he laughed. “And it is a happy event that, by seeing us unexpectedly, your memory has returned. But the reason Mr. Henfrey is here is to resume that conversation which was so suddenly interrupted at the Villa Amette.”
Mademoiselle was silent for some moments. Her face was averted, for she was gazing out of the window to the distant sea.