It was at this moment that Zuleika opened her eyes. “Where am I?” She weakly raised herself on one elbow; and the suspension of the Duke’s hatred would have been repealed simultaneously with that of her consciousness, had it not already been repealed by the analogy. She put a hand to her face, then looked at the wet palm wonderingly, looked at the Duke, saw the water-jug beside him. She, too, it seemed, had caught the analogy; for with a wan smile she said “We are quits now, John, aren’t we?”
Her poor little jest drew to the Duke’s face no answering smile, did but make hotter the blush there. The wave of her returning memory swept on—swept up to her with a roar the instant past. “Oh,” she cried, staggering to her feet, “the owls, the owls!”
Vengeance was his, and “Yes, there,” he said, “is the ineluctable hard fact you wake to. The owls have hooted. The gods have spoken. This day your wish is to be fulfilled.”
“The owls have hooted. The gods have spoken. This day—oh, it must not be, John! Heaven have mercy on me!”
“The unerring owls have hooted. The dispiteous and humorous gods have spoken. Miss Dobson, it has to be. And let me remind you,” he added, with a glance at his watch, “that you ought not to keep The MacQuern waiting for luncheon.”
“That is unworthy of you,” she said. There was in her eyes a look that made the words sound as if they had been spoken by a dumb animal.
“You have sent him an excuse?”
“No, I have forgotten him.”