“O’Hara! O’Hara! That tall, thin chap’s name was O’Hara, by Jove! It wasn’t Powers at all!” He laughed a little as he remembered how very positive Captain Stewart had been. And then he frowned, thinking that the mistake was an odd one, since Stewart had evidently known a good deal about this adventurer. Captain Stewart, though, Ste. Marie reflected, was exactly the sort to be very sure he was right about things. He had just the neat and precise and semi-scholarly personality of the man who always knows. So Ste. Marie dismissed the matter with another brief laugh, but a cognate matter was less easy to dismiss. The name brought with it a face—a dark and splendid face with tragic eyes that called. He walked a long way thinking about them and wondering. The eyes haunted him. It will have been reasonably evident that Ste. Marie was a fanciful and imaginative soul. He needed but a chance word, the sight of a face in a crowd, the glance of an eye, to begin story-building, and he would go on for hours about it and work himself up to quite a passion with his imaginings. He should have been a writer of fiction.
He began forthwith to construct romances about this lady of the motor-car. He wondered why she should have been with the shady Irishman—if Irishman he was—O’Hara, and with some anxiety he wondered what the two were to each other. Captain Stewart’s little cynical jest came to his mind, and he was conscious of a sudden desire to kick Miss Benham’s middle-aged uncle.
The eyes haunted him. What was it they suffered? Out of what misery did they call—and for what? He walked all the long way home to his little flat overlooking the Luxembourg Gardens, haunted by those eyes. As he climbed his stair it suddenly occurred to him that they had quite driven out of his mind the image of his beautiful lady who sat among the stars, and the realization came to him with a shock.
* * * * *
OLD DAVID STEWART
It was Miss Benham’s custom, upon returning home at night from dinner-parties or other entertainments, to look in for a few minutes on her grandfather before going to bed. The old gentleman, like most elderly people, slept lightly, and often sat up in bed very late into the night, reading or playing piquet with his valet. He suffered hideously at times from the malady which was killing him by degrees, but when he was free from pain the enormous recuperative power, which he had preserved to his eighty-sixth year, left him almost as vigorous and clear-minded as if he had never been ill at all. Hartley’s description of him had not been altogether a bad one: “a quaint old beggar... a great quantity of white hair and an enormous square white beard and the fiercest eyes I ever saw...” He was a rather “quaint old beggar,” indeed! He had let his thick, white hair grow long, and it hung down over his brows