In her heart she knew that his feelings were hurt. But had she not hurt her own?
There was a piano in the drawing-room part of the car. Sonia was singing to Falconer. They had forgotten Mrs. May, without whose martyred presence they could not have had this happiness. The soul of the Russian girl seemed to pour out with her voice, as upon a tide. The sorrow and pain of her past exile were in it at first: then it rose to the joy of new life in a new world. The sweetness of the voice and all that it meant of love after anguish stabbed Angela as she listened in the distance, like a knife dipped in honey.
Things were better at Del Monte. Mrs. Harland was there, and made a delightful hostess. It rather amused Angela to watch Theo Dene with Sonia Dobieski, and to see how delightful Falconer’s sister was to both. But somehow she contrived that Miss Dene should not be of the motoring party for the Seventeen-Mile Drive. A young officer from the Presidio was produced, to compensate as far as could be for her frankly lamented “failure”; and Theo resigned herself to a second-best flirtation. It was consoling to think that Falconer had been in love with the Dobieski long before he saw her: and Theo could almost forgive the Russian, whom she considered plain and gawky compared to herself. She could not, however, forgive “Mrs. May” for having come into the party, and for being liked by the host better than she was liked. Judging another woman by herself, she thought that, out of revenge for one or two little things (such as the talk about Mrs. Gaylor and Nick Hilliard), Angela was trying to “take away” her California friends. If Theo had considered it worth while, she would have broken her word, and told who “Mrs. May” really was; but that would be worse than useless, as it would only make Angela seem of more importance than at present. However, on hearing that Mrs. May might decide to “run up to Shasta and the McCloud River,” she promised herself a certain amount of fun. She had reminded Mrs. Harland so often about writing to Mrs. Gaylor, that at last the letter had been sent. The lady who was supposed to have a claim upon Nick Hilliard was asked to visit Rushing River Camp, as Falconer’s place was called; and a telegram had been dispatched by Falconer himself to Hilliard at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, whither he was bound. If they all came—yes, Theo would have her fun.
She thought of this, as she flirted with the officer from the Presidio, and promised to make him the hero of her next book. But the party in Falconer’s motor thought of her not at all.
Angela was enchanted with the peninsula of Monterey. In the dark arbour of the cedar forest Falconer kept ordering the chauffeur of a hired car to slow down, or stop. The practically minded young man believed that this great gentleman and the three ladies must be slightly mad. It was so queer to stop a car when she was going well just to stare around and talk poetry about a lot of trees.