Part 6 out of 6
Only once did Marguerite make allusion to that terrible time which had
become the past.
They were wandering together down the chestnut alley in the beautiful
garden at Richmond. It was evening, and the air was heavy with the rich
odour of wet earth, of belated roses and dying mignonette. She had
paused in the alley, and placed a trembling hand upon his arm, whilst
raising her eyes filled with tears of tender passion up to his face.
"Percy!" she murmured, "have you forgiven me?"
"That awful evening in Boulogne ... what that fiend demanded ... his
awful 'either--or' ... I brought it all upon you ... it was all my fault."
"Nay, my dear, for that 'tis I should thank you ..."
"Aye," he said, whilst in the fast-gathering dusk she could only just
perceive the sudden hardening of his face, the look of wild passion in his
eyes, "but for that evening in Boulogne, but for that alternative which
that devil placed before me, I might never have known how much you
meant to me."
Even the recollection of all the sorrow, the anxiety, the torturing
humiliations of that night seemed completely to change him; the voice
became trenchant, the hands were tightly clenched. But Marguerite drew
nearer to him; her two hands were on his breast; she murmured gently:
"And now? ..."
He folded her in his arms, with an agony of joy, and said earnestly:
"Now I know."