“To make you his wife? Absurd! Men of his station do not marry, nor promise to marry, the grisettes or the—”
“’Madam! It is not a grisette to whom you are speaking. The blood in my veins is as noble as that which flows in his, the name I bear—and perhaps disgrace, God help me!—is as proud as any in all France. But I have not millions, as you have. My face, my person may win and hold the heart, but I have not the gold with which to buy the soul. You will pardon my intrusion and you will forgive me for any pang I have caused. He would not harken to the appeals from my breaking heart, he would not give me all his love. There was left but one course to preserve what rightfully belongs to me, and I have followed it as a last resort Were you to tell him that a woman came to you with this story, he would deny everything, and he would be lost to me, even though you cast him off in the end. It is not in my power to command you to protect the woman who is trying to help you. You do not believe what I have told to you, therefore I cannot hope for pity at your hands. You will tell him that I have been here, and I shall pay the penalty for being the fool, the mad woman. I am not asking for pity. If I have lied to you I deserve nothing but the hardest punishment. You have one way to punish me for the wounds I inflict, but it is the same to me, no matter how it ends. If you marry him, I am lost; if you cast him off and yet tell him that it was I who first sowed the seed of distrust in your heart, I am lost. It will be the same—all the same! If he cannot wed you, he will come to me and I will forgive. Madam, he is not good enough for you, but he is all the world to me. He would wed you, but you are not the one he loves. You are all the world to one whose love is pure and honest. If you would save him, become his wife. O, Mademoiselle, it grieves me so to see the tears in those good eyes of yours! Farewell, and God bless and keep you.”
ARRIVALS FROM LONDON
Lady Saxondale and the young person with the stored-up wrath were met at the Gare du Nord by Mr. Savage, all smiles and good spirits. Quentin was rounding-to nicely, and there was little danger from complications. This fact coupled with the joy of seeing the girl who had been able to make him feel that life was not a shallow dream, sent him up to the two ladies with outstretched hands, a dancing heart and a greeting that brought smiles to the faces of crusty fellow-creatures who had not smiled in weeks.
With a deference due to premeditated gallantry, he shook hands first with Lady Frances. His ebullition almost swept him to the point of greeting the two maids who stood respectfully near their mistresses. Then he turned his beaming face upon the Arctic individual with the pink parasol and the palm-leaf fan.
“Awfully sorry, Lady Jane, but I really couldn’t get to Ostend. You didn’t have any trouble getting the right train and all that, did you?” he asked, vaguely feeling for the hand which had not been extended.