When, after this little interruption, Lawrence again addressed Junius Keswick his manner was so much more affable that the other could not fail but notice it.
“Mr Keswick,” he said, “as our conversation seems to be based upon personalities, perhaps you will excuse me if I ask you if I am mistaken in believing that you were once engaged to be married to Miss March?”
“You are entirely correct,” said Junius. “I was engaged to her, and I hope to be engaged to her again.”
“Indeed!” exclaimed Croft, turning in his chair with a start.
“Yes,” continued Keswick, “our engagement was dissolved in consequence of a certain family complication, and as I said before, I hope in time to be able to renew it.”
Lawrence threw away his cigar, and sat for a few moments in thought. The engagement, then, did not exist. Roberta was free. Recollections came to him of his own intercourse with her during the past summer, and his heart gave a bound. “Mr Keswick,” said he, “upon consideration of the matter I think I will call upon Miss March this morning.”
If Keswick had expressed himself entirely satisfied with this decision he would have done injustice to his feelings. The service he had taken upon himself to perform for Miss March he had considered a duty, but if his mission had failed he would have been better pleased than with its success. He made, however, a courteous reply to Croft’s remark, and rose to depart. But this the other would not allow.
“You told me,” said Croft, “that you walked over here; but it is much warmer now, and you must not think of such a thing as walking back. The man here has a horse and buggy. I will get him to harness up, and I will drive you over to Midbranch.”
As there was no good reason why he should decline this offer, Junius accepted it, and in half an hour the two were on their way.