Damaris looked around, her face irradiated by laughter.
“And you played up, oh! so beautifully quick! I was a teeny bit afraid you might fail me. For the idea came all of a minute, there wasn’t time to warn you. And that was fortunate perhaps—for me. You might have had scruples. And I was obliged to do it. After talking about the things which really matter, I couldn’t dance with that vulgar little man again—or with those jealous boys. They had an idiotic quarrel, actual quarrel, down in the garden. It displeased me. I told them so, and left them, and came here to find you—because of the fountain and the sort of home-sickness it gave me.”
Between laughing and crying, Damaris held out her hands, the white moonlight covering her.
“Oh! I am tired of rushing about,” she said. “Come and dance with me—it’s nonsense to tell me you can’t dance, and that you’ve forgotten how, because you have danced once this evening already—with Henrietta. I watched you and you dance better than anybody.”
“With Henrietta—that’s rather a different matter!”
“I should hope it was,” Damaris took him up naughtily. “But dance with me, and then, then please take me home. Yes,” as he tried to speak. “I know I had arranged to stay the night at the Pavilion. But I’ll find some excuse to make to Henrietta—Haven’t you just told me I’m proficient in lying?—You were going to walk back? Why shouldn’t I walk with you? I won’t be five minutes changing into my day clothes. It would be so fascinating down on the shore road at night. And I should get quiet all inside of me. I am tired of rushing about, Colonel Sahib, it hasn’t been a success.”
She stopped breathless, her hands pressed over her lace and satin swathed bosom.
“Now come and dance,—oh! so beautifully, please, come and dance.”
TELLING HOW DAMARIS DISCOVERED THE TRUE NATURE OF A CERTAIN SECRET TO THE DEAR MAN WITH THE BLUE EYES
The beat of a tideless sea, upon the shore, is at once unrestful and monotonous; in this only too closely resembling the beat of the human heart, when the glory of youth has departed. The splendid energy of the flow and grateful easing of the ebb alike are denied it. Foul or fair, shine or storm, it pounds and pounds—as a thing chained—without relief of advance or of recession, always at the same level, always in the same place.
Suspicion of this cheerless truth was borne in upon Carteret as—bare-headed, his overcoat upon his arm, the night being singularly mild and clement—he walked with Damaris through the streets of the silent town. The dwellers in St. Augustin, both virtuous or otherwise, had very effectually retired to their beds behind drawn curtains, closed shutters, locked doors, and gave no sign. Vacancy reigned, bringing in its train an effect of suspense and eeriness, causing