There was a knock at the door. She started, and looked at me a little uneasily. Almost immediately the door was pushed open. It was Louis who entered, bearing a menu card. He addressed me with a little air of surprise. I was at once certain that he had known of my visit, and had come to see what it might mean.
“Monsieur has returned very soon,” he remarked, bowing pleasantly.
“My journey was not a long one, Louis,” I answered. “What have you brought that thing for?” I continued, pointing to the menu card. “Do you want an order for dinner? Miss Delora is dining elsewhere with me!”
My tone was purposely aggressive. Louis’ manners, however, remained perfection.
“Miss Delora has engaged a table in the cafe,” he said. “I have come myself to suggest a little dinner. I trust she will not disappoint us.”
She looked at me pathetically. There was something which I could not understand in her face. Only I knew that whatever she might ask me I was prepared to grant.
“Will you not stay and dine here with me?” she said. “Louis will give us a very good dinner, and afterwards I shall have my message, and I shall know whether I may go or not.”
The humor of the idea appealed to me. There was suddenly something fantastic, unbelievable, in the events of last night.
“With pleasure!” I answered.
Louis bowed, and for a moment or two seemed entirely engrossed in the few additions he was making to the menu he carried. Then he handed it to me with a little bow.
“There, monsieur,” he said. “I think that you will find that excellent.”
“I have no doubt that we shall, Louis,” I answered. “I will only ask you to remember one thing.”
“And that, monsieur?” he asked.
“I dine with mademoiselle,” I said, “and our appetites are identical!”
Louis smiled. There were times when I suspected him of a sense of humor!
“Monsieur has not the thick neck of Bartot!” he murmured, as he withdrew.
It seemed to me that Felicia that night was in her most charming mood. She wore a dress of some soft white material, and a large black hat, under which her face—a little paler even than usual—wore almost a pathetic aspect. Her fingers touched my arm as we entered the restaurant together. She seemed, in a way, to have lost some of her self-control,—the exclusiveness with which she had surrounded herself,—and to have become at once more natural and more girlish. I noticed that she chose a seat with her back to the room, and I understood her reason even before she told me.
“I think,” she said, “that to-night it would be pleasant to forget that there is any one here who disturbs me. I think it would be pleasant to remember only that this great holiday of mine, which I have looked forward to so long, has really begun.”