She was happy—supremely, completely happy. She had saved him from the consequences of her own iniquitous crime, and she was about to give her life for him, so that his safety might be more completely assured.
Her love for him he would never know; now he knew only her crime, but presently, when she would be convicted and condemned, confronted with a few scraps of burned paper and a torn letter-case, then he would know that she had stood her trial, self-accused, and meant to die for him.
Therfore the past few moments were now wholly hers. She had the rights to dwell on those few happy seconds when she listened to the avowal of his love. It was ethereal, and perhaps not altogether human, but it was hers. She had been his divinity, his madonna; he had loved in her that, which was her truer, her better self.
What was base in her was not truly her. That awful oath, sworn so solemnly, had been her relentless tyrant; and her religion—a religion of superstition and of false ideals—had blinded her, and dragged her into crime.
She had arrogated to herself that which was God’s alone—“Vengeance!” which is not for man.
That through it all she should have known love, and learned its tender secrets, was more than she deserved. That she should have felt his burning kisses on her hand was heavenly compensation for all she would have to suffer.
And so she allowed them to drag her through the sansculotte mob of Paris, who would have torn her to pieces then and there, so as not to delay the pleasure of seeing her die.
They took her to the Luxembourg, once the palace of the Medici, the home of proud “Monsieur” in the days of the Great Monarch, now a loathsome, overfilled prison.
It was then six o’clock in the afternoon, drawing towards the close of this memorable day. She was handed over to the governor of the prison, a short, thick-set man in black trousers and black-shag woollen shirt, and wearing a dirty red cap, with tricolour rosette on the side of his unkempt head.
He eyed her up and down as she passed under the narrow doorway, then murmured one swift query to Merlin:
“Yes,” replied Merlin laconically.
“You understand,” added the governor; “we are so crowded. We ought to know if individual attention is required.”
“Certainly,” said Merlin, “you will be personally responsible for this prisoner to the Committee of Public Safety.”
“Any visitors allowed?”
“Certainly not, without the special permission of the Public Prosecutor.”
Juliette heard this brief exchange of words over her future fate.
No visitor would be allowed to see her. Well, perhaps that would be best. She would have been afraid to meet Deroulede again, afraid to read in his eyes that story of his dead love, which alone might have destroyed her present happiness.