AT TREASURE ISLAND INN
The morning rode in grandly upon the sea. Bedient was early below, and overtook Miss Mallory in the gardens. She seemed particularly virile. A pair of Senora Rey’s toy-spaniels were frisking about.
“These are not my favorite kind, but I like dogs,” she said.... “How men reveal their earth-binding! A laugh is enough—or a fear, a word, a convention—and you have a complete discovery of limitations.”
Bedient fell into her mood. “And what manner of man would he be who could keep hidden from such very old and very wise eyes his covering of clay?”
“First, he would be without vanity,” she said readily. “Then, he would do noble things thoughtlessly and unwatched. He wouldn’t be dollar-poisoned, nor could he fail to help all who are poor and whipped, whether wicked or not. And he would have enough intelligence to enfold mine, so I wouldn’t be constantly banging against his walls.... In a word, he would be great without knowing it. Do you think I ask a great deal?”
“Yes, but I should like him,” Bedient answered.
“And now what is it?” she asked quickly. They had turned upon the main-drive, away from the trees. “I can see you have something to say.”
“I shall take up lodgings for the next few days in the city below—at Treasure Island Inn. Senor Rey has ordered me out of The Pleiad.”
Her face colored instantly, and yet she said, “I’m very glad to hear it. At least, you will be safe in Treasure Island Inn.”
“I had not considered that, Miss Mallory, though I’ve a great respect for all that you think important.... I still intend to see Jim Framtree—and before the end of ‘the four days’ spoken of night before last. The fact is, I have nothing else to do. Celestino Rey may mean to start his rebellion then, so there is only to-morrow and next day. It would be next to impossible for me to meet this man with hostilities begun.”
She was quite astonished at this stir of action.
“Can’t you tell me anything more?” Her appeal was penetrating.
“Only that I’ve got to see him. It’s not to do him harm,” he said. “The story isn’t altogether mine.... I can’t help laughing at this move of Senor Rey’s—and yet——”
“It hurts, doesn’t it?” she urged.
“Not exactly that, but it makes me all the more determined to get to Framtree.”
“I’m glad if it does hurt,” she said hastily. “You look like death, but the apathy is gone. Even red rage is better than that. I think you are better. It was about your illness—that I wanted you to tell me.... Good-by.”
“I hope,” Bedient said suddenly, “that Rey isn’t afraid of you—that you are clear from the impulse that made him send me downtown.”
“I’ve been careful.... I’ll help, if I can. Good-by.... Aren’t ‘good-bys’ hideous?... But we can’t be too careful.... At Treasure Island Inn?”