“But you don’t expect all grades of people to be friends? Surely you don’t expect—”
I smiled. “No, I don’t expect. So far I’m only hoping all people may, some day—be friendly.”
Kitty was signaling frantically with her eyes, and in obedience I again performed as requested, for the third time turned to Mr. Garrott.
“I heard a most interesting discussion the other day concerning certain present-day French writers. I wonder if you agree with Bernard Shaw that Brieux is the greatest dramatist since Moliere, or if—”
“I never agree with Bernard Shaw.”
Mr. Garrott frowned, and, taking up his wine-glass, drained it. Putting it down, he again stared at me. “I don’t understand you. You don’t look at all as I imagined you would.”
At the foot of the table Billy was insisting upon the superiority of the links of the Hawthorne to those of the Essex club, and Kitty, at her end, was giving a lively account of a wedding-party she had come across at the station the evening before when seeing a friend off for her annual trip South, and at first one and then the other Mr. Garrott looked, as if not comprehending why, when he wished to speak, there should be chatter. Later, when again we were in the drawing-room, he continued to eye me speculatively, but he was permitted no opportunity to add to his inquiries; and when at last he was gone Kitty sat down, limp and worn at the strain she had been forced to endure.
“What business is it of his how you live and what you do?” she said, indignantly. “He’s an old teapot, but you see now what I mean. I’m always having to explain you, to tell—”
“Don’t do it. I’ll forgive much, but not explaining. Your lion doesn’t roar well, still, a lion is worth seeing—once.” I turned to Selwyn. “I beg your pardon. Did you speak to me?”
“I asked if I could take you to Scarborough Square. I have a taxi here.”
“Thank you, but I am spending the night with Kitty. I am not going back.”
In astonishment Kitty looked at me, then turned away. I had told her I could not stay. I had not intended to stay, but I could not talk to Selwyn to-night. There would not be time and there was too much I wanted to say.
Selwyn’s shoulders made shrug that was barely perceptible, and without offering his hand he said good night. In the hall I heard him speak to Kitty, then the closing of the door and the starting of the taxi, then silence.
Dawn was breaking when at last I slept.
I have not seen Selwyn since the night of Kitty’s dinner-party. He has been back three days. If he wished to see me before he went away, why does he not come to see me now? Daily I determine I will let no thought of him come into my mind. The purposes for which I came to Scarborough Square will be defeated if I continue to think of this unimaginable happening that is with me day and night, this peculiar behavior of which he makes no explanation. I determine not to think, and thought is ever with me.