“I do not know that there is occasion for that,” Halcyone remarked, “it is all a level thing which does not matter. You are Mr. Carlyon’s guest and I expect will be staying some time—”
“So you will have to put up with me!” and John Derringham laughed, furious now with himself for his increasing irritation.
“I must be going,” Halcyone then announced and got up from her chair—“and I will tell my aunts that they may expect you to-morrow night,” she continued, addressing Mr. Carlyon.
He rose and prepared to accompany her down the garden. She bowed to John Derringham with quiet dignity as he still lay on the ground and walked on by the side of her Professor without further words.
“You don’t like my old pupil, Halcyone?” Mr. Carlyon said when they got to the gap in the hedge. “Tell me, what do you see at the other side of his head?”
“Himself,” was all she answered as she bounded lightly away laughing, and was soon lost to view in the copse beyond.
And Cheiron, considerably amused, returned to his prostrate guest to find him with a frown upon his face.
“I hope to goodness, Master, you won’t bore me with that brat while I am here,” he exclaimed, “chattering aphorisms like a parrot. I can’t stand children out of their place.”
“Since there will be three gentlemen, Ginevra,” Miss Roberta said on Saturday morning when they sat together in the Italian parlor after breakfast, “do you not think we had better have Halcyone down to dinner to-night? I know,” she added timidly, “it is not in the proper order of things, but we could make an exception.”
Miss La Sarthe frowned. Roberta so often was ready to upset regulations. She was difficult to deal with. But this suggestion of hers had some point.
They would be two ladies to three of the other sex—and one of their guests appeared to be quite a young man—perhaps it might be more prudent to relax a rule, than to find themselves in an embarrassing position.
“I strongly deplore the fact of children ever being brought from their seclusion except for dessert, but as you say, Roberta, three gentlemen—and one a perfect stranger—might be too much for us. I hardly think our Mamma would have approved of our giving such an unchaperoned party, so for this once Halcyone had better come down. She can have Mr. Miller for her partner, you will be conducted by the Professor—and the new guest will take me in.”
Miss Roberta bridled—the Professor was now a hero in her eyes.
“And Sister,” she said, “I think we might bring six of the chairs from Sir Timothy’s bed- and dressing-room just for to-night, instead of those Windsor ones. It would give the dining-room a better look, do you not think so?”
And to this also Miss La Sarthe agreed. So Miss Roberta joyfully found Halcyone out upon the second terrace and imparted to her the good news. They would arrange flowers in the epergne, she suggested—a few sweet williams and mignonette and a foxglove or two. A pretty posy fixed in sand, such as she remembered there always was in their gala days. Halcyone was enchanted at the prospect.