“Well,” said the savant presently, after a pause: “Now you have got him, what are you going to do with him?”
She smiled coldly, but answered nothing.
“You need not flash your beautiful eyes at me in that eminently unpleasant fashion,” pursued the Doctor, easily. “You see I know you, and I am not afraid of you. I only make a stand against you in one respect: you shall not kill the boy Denzil.”
“He is nothing to me!” she said, with a gesture of contempt.
“I know he is nothing to you; but you are something to him. He does not recognize your nature as I do. I must get him out of the reach of your spell—”
“You need not trouble yourself,” she interrupted him, a sombre melancholy darkening her face; “I shall be gone to-morrow.”
“Gone altogether?” inquired the Doctor calmly and without surprise,—“Not to come back?”
“Not in this present generation!” she answered.
Still Dr. Dean evinced no surprise.
“Then you will have satisfied yourself?” he asked.
She bent her head.
“For the time being—yes! I shall have satisfied myself.”
There followed a silence, during which the little Doctor looked at his beautiful companion with all the meditative interest of a scientist engaged in working out some intricate and deeply interesting problem.
“I suppose I may not inquire how you propose to obtain this satisfaction?” he said.
“You may inquire, but you will not be answered!” she retorted, smiling darkly.
“Your intentions are pitiless?”
Still smiling, she said not a word.
“You are impenitent?”
She remained silent.
“And, worst of all, you do not desire redemption! You are one of those who forever and ever cry, ‘Evil, be thou my good!’ Thus for you, Christ died in vain!”
A faint tremor ran through her, but she was still mute.
“So you and creatures like you, must have their way in the world until the end,” concluded the Doctor, thoughtfully. “And if all the philosophers that ever lived were to pronounce you what you are, they would be disbelieved and condemned as madmen! Well, Princess, I am glad I have never at any time crossed your path till now, or given you cause of offence against me. We part friends, I trust? Good-night! Farewell!”
She held out her hand. He hesitated before taking it.
“Are you afraid?” she queried coldly. “It will not harm you!”
“I am afraid of nothing,” he said, at once clasping the white taper fingers in his own, “except a bad conscience.”
“That will never trouble you!” and the Princess looked at him full and steadily. “There are no dark corners in your life—no mean side-alleys and trap-holes of deceit; you have walked on the open and straight road. You are a good man and a wise one. But though you, in your knowledge of spiritual things, recognize me for what I am, take my advice and be silent on the matter. The world would never believe the truth, even if you told it, for the time is not yet ripe for men and women to recognize the avengers of their wicked deeds. They are kept purposely in the dark lest the light should kill!”