12. Chapter XII.
"Well--then--what more is there? In this country
are such things tolerated? I'm a Protestant--our church
does not forbid divorce in such cases."
They were both silent again, and Archer felt the
spectre of Count Olenski's letter grimacing hideously
between them. The letter filled only half a page, and
was just what he had described it to be in speaking of it
to Mr. Letterblair: the vague charge of an angry
blackguard. But how much truth was behind it? Only Count
Olenski's wife could tell.
"I've looked through the papers you gave to Mr.
Letterblair," he said at length.
"Well--can there be anything more abominable?"
She changed her position slightly, screening her eyes
with her lifted hand.
"Of course you know," Archer continued, "that if
your husband chooses to fight the case--as he threatens to--"
"He can say things--things that might be unpl--might
be disagreeable to you: say them publicly, so that they
would get about, and harm you even if--"
"I mean: no matter how unfounded they were."
She paused for a long interval; so long that, not
wishing to keep his eyes on her shaded face, he had
time to imprint on his mind the exact shape of her
other hand, the one on her knee, and every detail of the
three rings on her fourth and fifth fingers; among which,
he noticed, a wedding ring did not appear.
"What harm could such accusations, even if he made
them publicly, do me here?"