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21. Reaction
Yet three days, and then I must go back to the pensionnat. I almost numbered the
moments of these days upon the clock; fain would I have retarded their flight; but they
glided by while I watched them: they were already gone while I yet feared their
'Lucy will not leave us to-day,' said Mrs. Bretton, coaxingly at breakfast; 'she knows we
can procure second respite.'
'I would not ask for one if I might have it for a word,' said I. 'I long to get the good-bye
over, and to be settled in the Rue Fossette again. I must go this morning: I must go
directly; my trunk is packed and corded.'
It appeared, however, that my going depended upon Graham; he had said he would
accompany me, and it so fell out that he was engaged all day, and only returned home at
dusk. Then ensued a little combat of words. Mrs. Bretton and her son pressed me to
remain one night more. I could have cried so irritated and eager was I to be gone. I
longed to leave them as the criminal on the scaffold longs for the axe to descend: that is, I
wished the pang over How much I wished it, they could not tell. On these points, mine
was a state of mind out of their experience.
It was dark when Dr. John handed me from the carriage at Madame Beck's door. The
lamp above was lit; it rained a November drizzle, as it had rained all day: the lamplight
gleamed on the wet pavement. Just such a night was it as that on which, not a year ago, I
had first stopped at this very threshold just similar was the scene. I remembered the very
shapes of the paving-stone which I had noted with idle eye, while; with a thick-beating
heart, I waited the unclosing of that door at which I stood - a solitary and a suppliant. On
that night, too, I had briefly met him who now stood with me. Had I ever reminded him
of that rencontre, or explained it? I had not, nor ever, felt the inclination to do so: it was a
pleasant thought, laid by in my own mind, and best kept there.
Graham rung the bell. The door was instantly opened, for it was just that period of the
evening when the half-boarders took their departure - consequently, Rosine was on the
'Don't come in,' said I to him; but he stepped a moment into the well-lighted vestibule. I
had not wished him to see that 'the water stood in my eyes,' for his was too kind a nature
ever to be needlessly shown such sins of sorrow. He always wished to heal - to relieve -
when, physician as he was, neither cure nor alleviation were, perhaps, in his power.
'Keep up your courage, Lucy. Think of my mother and myself as true friends. We will not
forget you.'
'Nor will I forget you, Dr. John.'