Nora’s lip quivered a little.
“That doesn’t matter,” she said shortly.
“Yes, but it does matter! You promised to be my friend—and—you have been treating me abominably!” said Connie, with flashing eyes.
Nora feebly defended herself, but was soon reduced to accept a pair of arms thrown round her, and a soft shoulder on which to rest an aching head.
“I’m no good,” she said desparingly. “I give up—everything.”
“That’s all right!” Connie’s tone was extremely cheerful. “Which means, I hope, that you’ll give up that absurd copying in the Bodleian. You get about twopence halfpenny for it, and it’ll cost you your first-class. How are you going to get a First I should like to know, with your head full of bills, and no sleep at nights?”
Nora flushed fiercely.
“I want to earn my living—I mean to earn my living! And how do you know—after all”—she held Connie at arm’s length—“that Mr. Scroll’s going to approve of what you’ve done? And father won’t accept, unless he does.”
“Mr. Sorell will do—exactly what pleases me. Mr. Sorell”—she began to search for a cigarette—“Mr. Sorell is an angel.”
A silence. Connie looked up, rather surprised.
“Don’t you agree?”
“Yes,” said Nora in an odd voice.
Connie observed her. A flickering light began to play in the brown eyes.
“H’m. Have you been doing some Greek already?—stealing a march on me?”
“I had a lesson last week.”
“Had you? The first I’ve heard of it!” Connie fluttered up and down the room in her white dressing-gown, occasionally breaking into a dance-step, as though to work off a superfluity of spirits.
Finally she stopped in front of Nora, looking her up and down.
“I dare you to hide anything again from me, Nora!”
Nora sat up.
“There is nothing to hide,” she said stiffly.
Connie laughed aloud; and Nora suddenly sprang from her chair, and ran out of the room.
Connie was left panting a little. Life in Medburn House seemed certainly to be running faster than of old!
“I never gave him leave to fall in love with Nora!” she thought, with an unmistakable pang of common, ordinary jealousy. She had been so long accustomed to take her property in Sorell for granted!—and the summer months had brought her into such intimate contact with him. “And he never made love to me for one moment!—nor I to him. I don’t believe he’s made love to Nora—I’m sure he hasn’t—yet. But why didn’t he tell me of that Greek lesson?”
She stood before the glass, pulling down her hair, so that it fell all about her.
“I seem to be rather cut out for fairy-godmothering!” she said pensively to the image in the glass. “But there’s a good deal to do for the post!—one must admit there’s a good deal to do—Nora’s got to be fixed up—and all the money business. And then—then!”