13. Lupin Wires
The Duke stared at the pendant, his eyes full of wonder and pity.
"Poor little girl!" he said softly under his breath.
He put the pendant carefully away in his waistcoat-pocket and stood staring thoughtfully out of
The door opened softly, and Sonia came quickly into the room, closed the door, and leaned
back against it. Her face was a dead white; her skin had lost its lustre of fine porcelain, and she
stared at him with eyes dim with anguish.
In a hoarse, broken voice, she muttered: "Forgive me! Oh, forgive me!"
"A thief--you?" said the Duke, in a tone of pitying wonder.
"You mustn't stop here," said the Duke in an uneasy tone, and he looked uneasily at the door.
"Ah, you don't want to speak to me any more," said Sonia, in a heartrending tone, wringing her
"Guerchard is suspicious of everything. It is dangerous for us to be talking here. I assure you
that it's dangerous," said the Duke.
"What an opinion must you have of me! It's dreadful--cruel!" wailed Sonia.
"For goodness' sake don't speak so loud," said the Duke, with even greater uneasiness. "You
MUST think of Guerchard."
"What do I care?" cried Sonia. "I've lost the liking of the only creature whose liking I wanted.
What does anything else matter? What DOES it matter?"
"We'll talk somewhere else presently. That'll be far safer," said the Duke.
"No, no, we must talk now!" cried Sonia. "You must know. . . . I must tell . . . Oh, dear! . . .
Oh, dear! . . . I don't know how to tell you. . . . And then it is so unfair. . . . she . . . Germaine . .
. she has everything," she panted. "Yesterday, before me, you gave her that pendant, . . . she
smiled . . . she was proud of it. . . . I saw her pleasure. . . . Then I took it--I took it--I took it!
And if I could, I'd take her fortune, too. . . . I hate her! Oh, how I hate her!"
"What!" said the Duke.
"Yes, I do . . . I hate her!" said Sonia; and her eyes, no longer gentle, glowed with the sombre
resentment, the dull rage of the weak who turn on Fortune. Her gentle voice was harsh with
"You hate her?" said the Duke quickly.
"I should never have told you that. . . . But now I dare. . . . I dare speak out. . . . It's you! . . . It's
you--" The avowal died on her lips. A burning flush crimsoned her cheeks and faded as quickly
as it came: "I hate her!" she muttered.
"Sonia--" said the Duke gently.
"Oh! I know that it's no excuse. . . . I know that you're thinking 'This is a very pretty story, but
it's not her first theft'; . . . and it's true--it's the tenth, . . . perhaps it's the twentieth. . . . It's true--
I am a thief." She paused, and the glow deepened in her eyes. "But there's one thing you must
believe--you shall believe; since you came, since I've known you, since the first day you set
eyes on me, I have stolen no more . . . till yesterday when you gave her the pendant before me.
I could not bear it . . . I could not." She paused and looked at him with eyes that demanded an