“It’s all right,” she said lightly. “Senor Rey knows I am to have luncheon with you. We had a long talk this morning, and I think I left him in excellent spirits.... Oh, yes, he’s an artist with the probe. I didn’t give him a chance to talk about you, because I asked the first questions.”
Her resourcefulness was delightful. “A friend’s fortunes are truly safe in your hands,” he said. “And now please tell me all about it.”
A FURTHER NOTE FROM REY
“I had a long mental work-out this morning in the room before breakfast,” she began. “I even thought about what brings you here, and about my long talk with the Glow-worm last night, which I’ll get to—if you are a very interested listener. After breakfast, I walked for an hour in the grounds. Have you been over to the Inlet, where Senor Rey’s beautiful sailing-yacht lies—the Savonarola?”
“I’ve seen it from the road,” Bedient answered.
“A stairway goes down from the bluff under the road, a hundred steps or more to the water of the cove. In fact, the tall spars of the Savonarola aren’t nearly so high as the level of the bluff. I love a sailing-ship, and on the way back I met Senor Rey in his wheel-chair, and told him how the wonderful little harbor and his thorough-bred, lying there, had appealed to me. He inclined his head benignly. His yacht, I said, had the effective lines of her namesake’s profile—and that pleased him. Followed, a technical discussion of different sailing-ships that once swept the waters of the world, I furnishing enthusiasm and a text-book inquiry now and then. This brought not only an invitation to sail within a few days, but also an invitation to a private dinner this evening in the Flamingo Room, ’with Senora Rey and a few most cherished guests.’ And—I must not forget—the Senor informed me that his wife was very fond of me....
“I observed that the ‘Flamingo Room’ had a most enticing sound. He hoped I would find it so; said the idea was his own, and that, to him, the tint of a flamingo feather was the fairest of all tints—save one, to be found in the cheeks of an American girl. I answered that it was very clear to me now whose sense of beauty had made The Pleiad and its gardens the rarest delight of my travels.”
Miss Mallory regarded Bedient’s amusement appreciatively for a moment, and went on swiftly:
“Then I walked beside his wheel-chair through the shadowy, scented paths, and presently I mentioned you and Colonel Rizzio among the interesting people I had met. He declared you were a true gentleman—spoke feelingly—a stranger at The Pleiad, though not to the Island. I explained how you had kept aloof on the ship coming down, how you seemed to be the prey of some devouring grief.... All that I said, he regarded with that terribly bright attention of his. It made me think of a pack