And now Bohm pronounced the only utterance that I heard fall from his lips during his stay in Kings Port. He looked at the church he had come from, he looked at the neighboring larger church whose columns stood out at the angle of the street; he looked at the graveyard opposite that, then at the stale, dusty shop of old furniture, and then up the shabby street, where no life or movement was to be seen, except the distant forms of Beverly and Mrs. Weguelin St. Michael. Then from a gold cigar-case, curved to fit his breast pocket, he took a cigar and lighted it from a gold match-box. Offering none of us a cigar, he placed the case again in his pocket; and holding his lighted cigar a moment with two fingers in his strong glove, he spoke:—
“This town’s worse than Sunday.”
Then he got into the automobile. They all followed to see Charley off, and he addressed me.
“I shall be glad,” he said, “if you will make one of a little party on the yacht next Sunday, when I come back. And you also,” he added to John.
Both John and I expressed our acceptance in suitable forms, and the automobile took its way to the train.
“Your Kings Port streets,” I said, as we walked back toward Mrs. Trevise’s, “are not very favorable for automobiles.”
“No,” he returned briefly. I don’t remember that either of us found more to say until we had reached my front door, when he asked, “Will the day after to-morrow suit you for Udolpho?”
“Whenever you say,” I told him.
“Weather permitting, of course. But I hope that it will; for after that I suppose my time will not be quite so free.”
After we had parted it struck me that this was the first reference to his approaching marriage that John had ever made in my hearing since that day long ago (it seemed long ago, at least) when he had come to the Exchange to order the wedding-cake, and Eliza La Heu had fallen in love with him at sight. That, in my opinion, looking back now with eyes at any rate partially opened, was what Eliza had done. Had John returned the compliment then, or since?
It was to me continuously a matter of satisfaction and of interest to see Hortense disturbed—whether for causes real or imaginary—about the security of her title to her lover John, nor can I say that my misinterpreted bunch of roses diminished this satisfaction. I should have been glad to know if the accomplished young woman had further probed that question and discovered the truth, but it seemed scarce likely that she could do this without the help of one of three persons, Eliza and myself who knew all, or John who knew nothing; for the up-country bride, and whatever other people in Kings Port there were to whom the bride might gayly recite the tale of my roses, were none of them likely to encounter Miss Rieppe; their paths and hers would not meet until they