“The Great Diamond Robbery,” one of the films, was in progress, and there, depicted on the canvas, amid many figures, he saw himself, the most pronounced in that realistic group. And Betty Dalrymple saw the semblance of him, also, for she gave a slight gasp and sat more erect. In the moving picture he was running away from a crowd.
“Shall—shall we go?” The face of the flesh-and-blood Mr. Heatherbloom was very red; he looked toward the door.
She did not answer; her eyes continued bent straight before her, and she saw the whole quick scene of the drama unfolded. Then the street became cleared, the fleeing figure had turned a corner as an automobile, not engaged for the performance, came around it and went by. A big car—her own—she was in it. She caught, like a flash on the canvas, a glimpse of herself looking around; then the scene came to an end. Betty Dalrymple laughed—a little hysterically.
“Oh,” she said. “Oh, oh!”
He became, if possible, redder.
“Oh,” she repeated. Then, “Why”—with eyes full of mingled tragedy and comedy—“did you not explain it all that day, when—”
Of course she knew even as she spoke why he could not, or would not.
“You had cause to think so many things,” he murmured.
“But that! How—how strange! I saw you, and—”
He laughed. “And the manager told me I was a ‘rotten bad’ actor! Those were his words; not very elegant. But I believed him, until now—”
“Say something harsh and hard to me,” she whispered, almost fiercely. “I deserve it.”
The violet eyes were passionate. “Betty!” he exclaimed wonderingly.
“Do you call that harsh?” she demanded mockingly. “You—you should be cross with me—scold me—punish me—”
“Well,” he said calmly, “you haven’t believed that, lately, anyhow.”
“No; I just set it aside as something incomprehensible, not to be thought of, or to be considered any more. I believed in you, with all my soul, since last night—a good deal before that, yes, yes!—in my innermost heart! You believe me, don’t you?”
He answered, he hardly knew what. Some one was singing Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet. Her shoulder touched his arm and lingered there. “Oh, my dear!” she was saying to herself. The pianist banged; the vocalist bawled, while Mr. Heatherbloom sat in ecstasy.
They took her away the next day. The governor—Sir Charles Somebody—had heard of her and came and claimed her. His lady—portly, majestic—arrived with him. Their carriage was the finest on the island and their horses were the best. The coachman and footman were covered with the most approved paraphernalia and always constituted an unending source of wonder and admiration for the natives. The latter gathered in front of the best hotel on this occasion; they did not quite know what was taking place, but the sight of the big carriage there drew them about like flies.