Therefore, the guests sang in chorus as usual, a professional playing the accompaniments. There were few, however, who did not recognize the strong, sweet alto which ran through each melody like a minor key. Graydon’s acute ear for music heard little else, and he said to Madge “I shall be glad when this hotel life is over. What delicious evenings I shall have this fall! By the way, I’m going to have your piano tuned when I go to town.”
“Perhaps what? Perhaps I shall remember about the tuner? You’ll see.”
“I may go back with the Waylands. I’m not at all sure that I shall not spend my winter on the Pacific.”
“Why, Madge! With your health you could spend it in Greenland.”
“That’s what I may do. We always have a lovely green land in that climate.”
“I must investigate Santa Barbara. You have left some one or something there which has powerful attractions.”
“Yes, memories; as well as skies so bright that you can’t help smiling back at them.”
“I supposed you were going to enter society this fall and create a furore.”
“Oh, bah!” Then she began to laugh, and said, “A certain gentleman in this house thought I was so bent on having my fling in society that I didn’t wish to be embarrassed by even a little fraternal counsel.”
“A certain fellow in this house finds himself embarrassed by a black-eyed clairvoyant, who reads his thoughts as if they were sign-boards, but remains inscrutable herself.”
“Such an objectionable and inconvenient creature should certainly be banished to wilds of the West”
“As one of the Muir family I’ll never consent.”
“You’ll soon be engrossed by cares of your own,” she concluded, laughing. “Good-night.”
“Stay,” said Graydon, eagerly; “one so gifted with second-sight should be able to read the thoughts of others.”
“Whose?” Madge asked, demurely.
“Whose indeed? As if you did not know! Miss Wildmere’s.”
“What! Reveal a woman’s thoughts? I won’t speak to you again to-night;” and she left him with his tranquillity not a little disturbed.
Mr. Muir was to depart on the early train the following morning, and was pleased when Madge opened her door at the same time and said, “I’m going to see that you have a good breakfast and a good send-off.”
She chattered merrily with him during the meal, ignoring his somewhat wistful and questioning glances. “When shall we see you again, Henry?” she asked.
“Friday evening, I hope.”
“Don’t work and worry too much.”
“I defy fate now. You’ve given me your luck.”
“Heaven forbid! Well, good-by.”
A little later she and two of her boys, as she called them, were off on the hills. Mrs. Muir and Graydon breakfasted long after, and the latter observed with a frown that Arnault was still at the Wildmere table, with all the serenity of one en famille.