Shirley was silent for a moment, while Dick whistled a few bars from the latest waltz.
“A captain—a mere captain of the line—is not often plucked out of his post when in good health and standing—after a long leave for foreign travel—and sent away to visit his parents—and help entertain a distinguished Ambassador.”
“Thanks for the ‘mere captain,’ dearest. You needn’t rub it in.”
“I wouldn’t. But you are fair game—for your sister only! And you’re better known than you were before that little supper for the Spanish attache. It rather directed attention to you, didn’t it, Dick?”
“It certainly did.”
“And if you should meet Monsieur Chauvenet, who caused the trouble—”
“I have every intention of meeting him!”
“Of course, I shall meet him—some time, somewhere. He’s at the Springs, isn’t he?”
“Am I a hotel register that I should know? I haven’t seen him for several days.”
“What I should like to see,” said Dick, “is a meeting between Armitage and Chauvenet. That would really be entertaining. No doubt Chauvenet could whip your mysterious suitor.”
He looked away, with an air of unconcern, at the deepening shadows on the mountains.
“Dear Dick, I am quite sure that if you have been chosen out of all the United States army to find Mr. John Armitage, you will succeed without any help from me.”
“That doesn’t answer my question. You don’t know what you are doing. What if father knew that you were seeing this adventurer—”
“Oh, of course, if you should tell father! I haven’t said that I had seen Mr. Armitage; and you haven’t exactly told me that you have a warrant for his arrest; so we are quits, Captain. You had better look in at the hotel dance to-night. There are girls there and to spare.”
“When I find Mr. Armitage—”
“You seem hopeful, Captain. He may be on the high seas.”
“I shall find him there—or here!”
“Good luck to you, Captain!”
There was the least flash of antagonism in the glance that passed between them, and Captain Claiborne clapped his hands together impatiently and went into the house.
THE FIRST RIDE TOGETHER
My mistress bent that brow of hers;
Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
When pity would be softening through,
Fixed me a breathing-while or two
With life or death in the balance: right!
The blood replenished me again;
My last thought was at least not vain:
I and my mistress, side by side
Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So, one day more am I deified.
Who knows but the world may end to-night?
“We shall be leaving soon,” said Armitage, half to himself and partly to Oscar. “It is not safe to wait much longer.”