"Then, sir, to which of these ladies, if either, did you intend this note should be delivered; and which, if either, did you meet at the ruined chapel at Sceaux? Speak, in God's name, and do not spare me! Suspicion is more terrible than truth."
The very worst had come, and I felt my resolution waver. I knew not what story Agnes had told her husband, nor did I know who that other lady was. She looked enough like Agnes to have afforded shallow pretext for an evasion. Verily here was a strong temptation for a lie, and I was almost minded to tell it and relieve Agnes. Agnes, though, would give me no cue; never once did she lift her eyes to mine. I might even then have told the lie, but for the reflection it would compromise an innocent woman.
"Captain, in God's name, speak! do you not see that I am quiet and self-controlled?"
"Chevalier de la Mora, I shall tell you the exact truth, and hold you to your promise that there shall be no violence—now. What I did was through my fault alone, nor did your lady give me the slightest encouragement—she is blameless. It is a sore strait you have placed me in, but this is the lady who has all a soldier's love, and a soldier's respect, which she has done nothing to forfeit."
As I spoke, I indicated the shrinking figure of Agnes, and turned to meet the storm. Verily the storm did come, but from a different source.
The elder lady rose with a fervent "Thank God!"