whereas another and weaker woman would have become degraded by the
sorrows of such a life, she had remained pure as the snow, and as cold.
Her strong will and her pride had kept completely in check every
voluptuous instinct which must certainly have always lain dormant in
her. Every emotion towards man was frozen to ice.
There are some complete natures which only respond to the highest touch;
when the body and soul are evenly balanced they know all that is divine
of human love. It is those warped in either of the component parts who
bring sorrow - and lust.
The perfect woman gives willingly of herself, body and soul, to the _one
man_ she loves.
But of all these things Zara was ignorant. She only knew she was
exhausted, and she crept wearily to bed.
Thus neither bride nor bridegroom, on this their wedding night, knew
peace or rest.
They met next day for a late breakfast. They were to go to Paris by the
one o'clock boat. They were both very quiet and pale. Zara had gone into
the sitting-room first, and was standing looking out on the sea when her
husband came into the room, and she did not turn round, until he said
"Good morning," coldly, and she realized it was he.
Some strange quiver passed over her at the sound of his voice.
"Breakfast should be ready," he went on calmly. "I ordered it for eleven
o'clock. I told your maid to tell you so. I hope that gave you time to
"Yes, thank you," was all she said; and he rang the bell and opened the
papers, which the waiters had piled on the table, knowing the delight of
young bridal pairs to see news of themselves!
And as Zara glanced at her lord's handsome face she saw a cynical,
disdainful smile creep over it, at something he read.
And she guessed it was the account of their wedding; and she, too, took
up another paper and looked at the headings.
Yes, there was a flaming description of it all. And as she finished the
long paragraphs she raised her head suddenly and their eyes met. And
Tristram allowed himself to laugh - bitterly, it was true, but still to
The lingering fear of the ways of men was still in Zara's heart and not
altogether gone; she was not yet quite free from the suspicion that he
still might trap her if she unbent. So she frowned slightly and then
looked down at the paper again; and the waiters brought in breakfast at
that moment and nothing was said.
They did not seem to have much appetite, nor to care what they ate, but,
the coffee being in front of her, politeness made Zara ask what sort her
husband took, and when he answered - none at all - he wanted tea - she was
relieved, and let him pour it out at the side-table himself.
"The wind has got up fiercely, and it will be quite rough," he said
presently. "Do you mind the sea?"
And she answered, "No, not a bit."
Then they both continued reading the papers until all pretense of
breakfast was over; and he rose, and, asking if she would be ready at
about half-past twelve, to go on board, so as to avoid the crowd from
the London train, he went quietly out of the room, and from the windows
she afterwards saw him taking a walk on the pier.
And for some unexplained psychological reason, although she had now
apparently obtained exactly the terms she had decided were the only
possible ones on which to live with him, she experienced no sense of
satisfaction or peace!
No pair could have looked more adorably attractive and interesting than
Lord and Lady Tancred did as they went to their private cabin on the
boat an admiring group of Dover young ladies thought, watching from the
raised part above where the steamer starts. Every one concerned knew
that this thrilling bride and bridegroom would be crossing, and the
usual number of the daily spectators was greatly increased.
"What wonderful chinchilla!" "What lovely hair!" and "Oh! isn't he just
too splendid!" they said. And the maid and the valet, carrying the jewel
case, dressing bags, cushion and sable rug, followed, to the young
ladies' extra delight.
The _apanages_ of a great position, when augmented by the romance of a
wedding journey, are dear to the female heart.
They had the large cabin on the upper deck of the _Queen_, and it was
noticed that until the London train could be expected to arrive the
bridal pair went outside and sat where they could not be observed, with
a view towards Dover Castle. But it could not be seen that they never
spoke a word and that each read a book.
When it seemed advisable to avoid the crowd Tristram glanced up and
"I suppose we shall have to stay in that beastly cabin now, or some cad
will snapshot us. Will you come along?"
And so they went.
"It is going to be really quite rough," he continued, when the door was
shut. "Would you like to lie down - or what?"
"I am never the least ill, but I will try and sleep," Zara answered
resignedly, as she undid her chinchilla coat.
So he settled the pillows, and she lay down, and he covered her up; and
as he did so, in spite of his anger with her and all his hurt pride he
had the most maddeningly strong desire to kiss her and let her rest in
his arms. So he turned away brusquely and sat down at the farther end,
where he opened the window to let in some air, and pulled the curtain
over it, and then tried to go on with his book. But every pulse in his
body was throbbing, and at last he could not control the overmastering
desire to look at her.
She raised herself a little, and began taking the finely-worked,
small-stoned, sapphire pins out of her hat. They had been Cyril's gift.
"Can I help you?" he said.
"It is such soft fur I thought I need not take it off to lie down," she
answered coldly, "but there is something hurting in the back."
He took the thing with its lace veil from her, and the ruffled waves of
her glorious hair as she lay there nearly drove him mad with the longing
How, in God's name, would they ever be able to live? He must go outside
and fight with himself.
And she wondered why his face grew so stern. And when she was settled
comfortably again and the boat had started he left her alone.
It was, fortunately, so rough that there were very few people about, and
he went far forward and leant on the rail, and let the salt air blow
into his face.
What if, in the end, this wild passion for her should conquer him and he
should give in, and have to confess that her cruel words did not hinder
him from loving her? It would be too ignominious. He must pull himself
together and firmly suppress every emotion. He determined to see her as
little as possible when they got to Paris, and when the ghastly
honeymoon week, that he had been contemplating with so much excitement
and joy should be over, then they would go back to England, and he would
take up politics in earnest, and try and absorb himself in that.
And Zara, lying in the cabin, was unconscious of any direct current of
thought; she was quite unconscious that already this beautiful young
husband of hers had made some impression upon her, and that, underneath,
for all her absorption in her little brother and her own affairs, she
was growing conscious of his presence and that his comings and goings
were things to remark about.
And, strengthened in his resolve to be true to the Tancred pride,
Tristram came back to her as they got into Calais harbor.
The servants at the Ritz, in Paris, so exquisitely drilled, made no
apparent difference, when the bride and bridegroom arrived there about
half-past seven o'clock, than if they had been an elderly brother and
sister; and they were taken to the beautiful Empire suite on the Vendôme
side of the first floor. Everything was perfection in the way of
arrangement, and the flowers were so particularly beautiful that Zara's
love for them caused her to cry out,
"Oh! the dear roses! I must just bury my face in them, first."
They had got through the railway journey very well; real, overcoming
fatigue had caused them both to sleep, and in the automobile, coming to
the hotel, they had exchanged a few stiff words.
"To-morrow night we can dine out at a restaurant," Tristram had said,
"but to-night perhaps you are tired and would rather go to bed?"
"Thank you," said Zara. "Yes, I would." For she thought she wanted to
write her letters to Mirko and tell him of her new name and place. So
she put on a tea-gown, and at about half-past eight joined Tristram in
the sitting-room. If they had not both been so strained their sense of
humor would not have permitted them to refrain from a laugh. For here
they sat in state, and, when the waiters were in the room, exchanged a
few remarks. But Zara did notice that her husband never once looked at
her with any directness, and he seemed coldly indifferent to anything
"We shall have to stay here for the whole, boring week," he announced
when at last coffee was on the table and they were alone. "There are
certain obligations one's position obliges one to conform to. You
understand, I expect. I will try to make the time as easy to bear for
you as I can. Will you tell me what theaters you have not already seen?
We can go somewhere every night, and in the daytime you have perhaps
shopping to do; and - I know Paris quite well. I can amuse myself."
Zara did not feel enthusiastically grateful, but she said, "Thank you,"
in a quiet voice, and Tristram, rang the bell and asked for the list of
the places of amusement, and in the most stiff, self-contained manner he
chose, with her, a different one for every night.
Then he lit a cigar deliberately, and walked towards the door.
"Good-night, Milady," he said nonchalantly, and then went out.
And Zara sat still by the table and unconsciously pulled the petals off
an unoffending rose; and when she realized what she had done she was
It was not until about five o'clock the next day that he came into the
_Milor_ had gone to the races, and had left a note for _Miladi_ in the
morning, the maid had said.
And Zara, as she lay back on her pillows, had opened it with a strange
"You won't be troubled with me to-day," she read. "I am going out with
some old friends to Maisons Liafitte. I have said you want to rest from
the journey, as one has to say something. I have arranged for us to
dine at the Café de Paris at 7:30, and go to the Gymnâse. Tell Higgins,
my valet, if you change the plan." And the note was not even signed!
Well, it appeared she had nothing further to fear from him; she could
breathe much relieved. And now for her day of quiet rest.
But when she had had her lonely lunch and her letters to her uncle and
Mirko were written, she found herself drumming aimlessly on the window
panes, and wondering if she would go out.
She had no friends in Paris whom she wanted to see. Her life there with
her family had been entirely devoted to them alone. But it was a fine
day and there is always something to do in Paris - though what then,
particularly, she had not decided; perhaps she would go to the Louvre.
And then she sank down into the big sofa, opposite the blazing wood
fire, and gradually fell fast asleep. She slept, with unbroken deepness,
until late in the afternoon, and was, in fact, still asleep there when
Tristram came in.
He did not see her at first; the lights were not on and it was almost
dark in the streets. The fire, too, had burnt low. He came forward, and
then went back again and switched on the lamps; and, with the blaze,
Zara sat up and rubbed her eyes. One great plait of her hair had become
loosened and fell at the side of her head, and she looked like a rosy,
"I did not see you!" Tristram gasped, and, realizing her adorable
attractions, he turned to the fire and vigorously began making it up.
Then, as he felt he could not trust himself for another second, he rang
the bell and ordered some tea to be brought, while he went to his room
to leave his overcoat. And when he thought the excuse of the repast
would be there, he went back.
Zara felt nothing in particular. Even yet she was rather on the
defensive, looking out for every possible attack.
So they both sat down quietly, and for a few moments neither spoke.
She had put up her hair during his absence, and now looked wide-awake
and quite neat.
"I had a most unlucky day," he said - for something to say. "I could not
back a single winner. On the whole I think I am bored with racing."
"It has always seemed boring to me," she said. "If it were to try the
mettle of a horse one had bred I could understand that; or to ride it
oneself and get the better of an adversary: but just with sharp
practices - and for money! It seems so common a thing, I never could take
an interest in that."
"Does anything interest you?" he hazarded, and then he felt sorry he had
shown enough interest to ask.
"Yes," she said slowly, "but perhaps not many games. My life has always
been too ordered by the games of others, to take to them myself." And
then she stopped abruptly. She could not suppose her life interested him
But, on the contrary, he was intensely interested, if she had known.
He felt inclined to tell her so, and that the whole of the present
situation was ridiculous, and that he wanted to know her innermost
thoughts. He was beginning to examine her all critically, and to take in
every point. Beyond his passionate admiration for her beauty there was
something more to analyze.
What was the subtle something of mystery and charm? Why could she not
unbend and tell him the meaning in those fathomless, dark eyes? - What
could they look like, if filled with love and tenderness? Ah!
And if he had done as he felt inclined at the moment the ice might have
been broken, and at the end of the week they would probably have been in
each other's arms. But fate ordered otherwise, and an incident that
night, at dinner, caused a fresh storm.
Zara was looking so absolutely beautiful in her lovely new clothes that
it was not in the nature of gallant foreigners to allow her to dine
unmolested by their stares, and although the tête-à-tête dinner was
quite early at the Café de Paris, there happened to be a large party of
men next to them and Zara found herself seated in close proximity to a
nondescript Count, whom she recognized as one of her late husband's
friends. Every one who knows the Café de Paris can realize how this
happened. The long velvet seats without divisions and the small tables
in front make, when the place is full, the whole side look as if it were
one big group. Lord Tancred was quite accustomed to it; he knew Paris
well as he had told her, so he ought to have been prepared for what
could happen, but he was not.
Perhaps he was not on the alert, because he had never before been there
with a woman he loved.
Zara's neighbor was a great, big, fierce-looking creature from some wild
quarter of the South, and was perhaps also just a little drunk. She knew
a good deal of their language, but, taking for granted that this
Englishman and his lovely lady would be quite ignorant of what they
said, the party of men were most unreserved in their remarks.
Her neighbor looked at her devouringly, once or twice, when he saw
Tristram could not observe him, and then began to murmur immensely
_entreprenant_ love sentences in his own tongue, as he played with his
bread. She knew he had recognized her. And Tristram wondered why his
lady's little nostrils should begin to quiver and her eyes to flash.
She was remembering like scenes in the days of Ladislaus, and how he
used to grow wild with jealousy, in the beginning when he took her out,
and once had dragged her back upstairs by her hair, and flung her into
bed. It was always her fault when men looked at her, he assured her. And
the horror of the recollection of it all was still vivid enough.
Then Tristram gradually became greatly worried; without being aware that
the man was the cause, he yet felt something was going on. He grew
jealous and uneasy, and would have liked to have taken her home.
And because of the things she was angrily listening to, and because of
her fear of a row, she sat there looking defiant and resentful, and
spoke never a word.
And Tristram could not understand it, and he eventually became annoyed.
What had he said or done to her again? It was more than he meant to
stand, for no reason - to put up with such airs!
For Zara sat frowning, her mouth mutinous and her eyes black as night.
If she had told Tristram what her neighbor was saying there would at
once have been a row. She knew this, and so remained in constrained
silence, unconscious that her husband was thinking her rude to him, and
that he was angry with her. She was so strung up with fury at the
foreigner, that she answered Tristram's few remarks at random, and then
abruptly rose while he was paying the bill, as if to go out. And as she
did so the Count slipped a folded paper into the sleeve of her coat.
Tristram thought he saw something peculiar but was still in doubt, and,
with his English self-control and horror of a scene, he followed his
wife to the door, as she was walking rapidly ahead, and there helped her
into the waiting automobile.
But as she put up her arm, in stepping in, the folded paper fell to the
brightly lighted pavement and he picked it up.
He must have some explanation. He was choking with rage. There was some
mystery, he was being tricked.
"Why did you not tell me you knew that fellow who sat next to you?" he
said in a low, constrained voice.
"Because it would have been a lie," she said haughtily. "I have never
seen him but once before in my life."
"Then what business have you to allow him to write notes to you?"
Tristram demanded, too overcome with jealousy to control the anger in
She shrank back in her corner. Here it was beginning again! After all,
in spite of his apparent agreement to live on the most frigid terms with
her he was now acting like Ladislaus: men were all the same!
"I am not aware the creature wrote me any note," she said. "What do you
"How can you pretend like this," Tristram exclaimed furiously, "when it
fell out of your sleeve? Here it is."
"Take me back to the hotel," she said with a tone of ice. "I refuse to
go to the theater to be insulted. How dare you doubt my word? If there
is a note you had better read it and see what it says."
[Illustration: "With his English self-control and horror of a scene, he
followed his wife to the door."]
So Lord Tancred picked up the speaking-tube and told the chauffeur to go
back to the Ritz.
They both sat silent, palpitating with rage, and when they got there he
followed her into the lift and up to the sitting-room.
He came in and shut the door and strode over beside her, and then he
"You are asking too much of me. I demand an explanation. Tell me
yourself about it. Here is your note."
Zara took it, with infinite disdain, and, touching it as though it were
some noisome reptile, she opened it and read aloud,
_"Beautiful Comtesse, when can I see you again?"_
"The vile wretch!" she said contemptuously. "That is how men insult
women!" And she looked up passionately at Tristram. "You are all the
"I have not insulted you," he flashed. "It is perfectly natural that I
should be angry at such a scene, and if this brute is to be found again
to-night he shall know that I will not permit him to write insolent
notes to my wife."
She flung the hateful piece of paper into the fire and turned towards
"I beg you to do nothing further about the matter," she said. "This
loathsome man was half drunk. It is quite unnecessary to follow it up;
it will only make a scandal, and do no good. But you can understand
another thing. I will not have my word doubted, nor be treated as an
offending domestic - as you have treated me to-night." And without
further words she went into her room.
Tristram, left alone, paced up and down; he was wild with rage, furious
with her, with himself, and with the man. With her because he had told
her once, before the wedding, that when they came to cross swords there
would be no doubt as to who would be master! and in the three encounters
which already their wills had had she had each time come off the
conqueror! He was furious with himself, that he had not leaned forward
at dinner to see the man hand the note, and he was frenziedly furious
with the stranger, that he had dared to turn his insolent eyes upon his
He would go back to the Café de Paris, and, if the man was there, call
him to account, and if not, perhaps he could obtain his name. So out he
But the waiters vowed they knew nothing of the gentleman; the whole
party had been perfect strangers, and they had no idea as to where they
had gone on. So this enraged young Englishman spent the third night of
his honeymoon in a hunt round the haunts of Paris, but with no success;
and at about six o'clock in the morning came back baffled but still
raging, and thoroughly wearied out.
And all this while his bride could not sleep, and in spite of her anger
was a prey to haunting fears. What if the two had met and there had been
bloodshed! A completely possible case! And several times in the night
she got out of her bed and went and listened at the communicating doors;
but there was no sound of Tristram, and about five o'clock, worn out
with the anxiety and injustice of everything, she fell into a restless
doze, only to wake again at seven, with a lead weight at her heart. She
could not bear it any longer! She must know for certain if he had come
in! She slipped on her dressing-gown, and noiselessly stole to the door,
and with the greatest caution unlocked it, and, turning the handle,
Yes, there he was, sound asleep! His window was wide open, with the
curtains pushed back, so the daylight streamed in on his face. He had
been too tired to care.
Zara turned round quickly to reenter her room, but in her terror of
being discovered she caught the trimming of her dressing-gown on the
handle of the door and without her being aware of it a small bunch of
worked ribbon roses fell off.
Then she got back into bed, relieved in mind as to him but absolutely
quaking at what she had done and at the impossibly embarrassing position
she would have placed herself in, if he had awakened and known that she
And the first thing Tristram saw, when some hours later he was aroused
by the pouring in of the sun, was the little torn bunch of silk roses
lying close to her door.
He sprang from bed and picked them up. What could they possibly mean?
They were her roses, certainly - he remembered she wore the dressing-gown
that first evening at Dover, when he had gone to her to give her the
gardenias. And they certainly had not been there when at six o'clock he
had come in. He would in that case have seen them against the pale
For one exquisite moment he thought they were a message and then he
noticed the ribbon had been wrenched off and was torn.
No, they were no conscious message, but they did mean that she had been
in his room while he slept.
Why had she done this thing? He knew she hated him - it was no
acting - and she had left him the night' before even unusually incensed.
What possible reason could she have, then, for coming into his room? He
felt wild with excitement. He would see if, as usual, the door between
them was locked. He tried it gently. Yes, it was.
And Zara heard him from her side, and stiffened in her bed with all the
expression of a fierce wolfhound putting its hackles up.
Yes, the danger of the ways of men was not over! If she had not
unconsciously remembered to lock the door when she had returned from her
terrifying adventure he would have come in!
So these two thrilled with different emotions and trembled, and there
was the locked harrier between them. And then Tristram rang for his
valet and ordered his bath. He would dress quickly, and ask casually if
she would breakfast in the sitting-room. It was so late, almost eleven,
and they could have it at twelve upstairs - not in the restaurant as he
had yesterday intended. He must find out about the roses; he could not
endure to pass the whole day in wonder and doubt.
And Zara, too, started dressing. It was better under the circumstances
to be armed at all points, and she felt safer and calmer with Henriette
in the room.
So a few minutes before twelve they met in the sitting-room.
Her whole expression was on the defensive: he saw that at once.