The Man and the Moment HTML version

A WHOLE month went by, and after the storm peace seemed to cover Héronac. Sabine
gardened with Père Anselme, and listened to his kindly, shrewd common sense, and then
they read poetry in the afternoons when tea was over. They read Béranger, François
Villon, Victor Hugo, and every now and then they even dashed into de Musset!
The good Father felt more easy in his mind. After all, his impressions of Lord Fordyce's
character had been very high, and he was not apt to make mistakes in people—perhaps le
bon Dieu meant to make an exception in favor of the beloved Dame d'Héronac, and to
find divorce a good thing! Sabine had heard from Mr. Parsons that the negotiations had
commenced. It would be some time, though, before she could be free. She must formally
refuse to return when the demand asking her to do so should come. This she was prepared
to carry out. She firmly and determinedly banished all thought of Michael from her mind,
and hardly ever went into the garden summer-house—because, when she did, she saw
him too plainly standing there in his white flannels, with the sprig of her lavender in his
coat and his bold blue eyes looking up at her with their horribly powerful charm. The
force of will can do such wonders that, as the days went on, the pain and unrest of her
hours lessened in a great degree.
Every morning there came an adoring letter from Henry, in which he never said too much
or too little, but everything that could excite her cultivated intelligence and refresh her
soul. In all the after years of her life, whatever might befall her, these letters of Henry's
would have a lasting influence upon her. They polished and moulded her taste; and put
her on her mettle to answer them, and gradually they grew to be an absorbing interest. He
selected the books she was to read, and sent her boxes of them. It had been agreed before
he left that he would not return to Héronac for some time; but that in late October, when
the Princess and Mr. Cloudwater got back to Paris, that if they could be persuaded to
come to London, Sabine would accompany them, and make the acquaintance of Henry's
mother and some of his family—who would be in ignorance of there being any tie
between them, and the whole thing could be done casually and with good sense.
"I want my mother and my sisters to love you, darling," Henry wrote, "without a
prejudiced eye. My mother would find you perfect, whatever you were like, if she knew
that you were my choice—and for the same reason my sisters would perhaps find fault
with you; so I want you to make their conquest without any handicap."
Sabine, writing one of her long letters to Moravia in Italy, said:
I am very happy, Morri. This calm Englishman is teaching me such a number of new
aspects of life, and making me more determined than ever to be a very great lady in the
future. We are so clever in our nation, and all the young vitality in us is so splendid, when