Without waiting for an answer he broke away, as if starting for the hall.
“Please don’t go away like that!”
The cry of anguish came from Grace, and she threw herself sobbing on Veath’s breast.
Hugh turned like a flash. Contrition and the certainty of his power to dispel her grief showed plainly in his face.
“Don’t cry, Grace dear,” he begged, going over to them. “I was only fooling, dear. I’m not a bit unhappy.” Grace looked up wonderingly at him through her tears. “You must take me for a brute,” he stumbled on penitently. “You see—you see—er—the fact is, I’m in love myself.” He did not know he could be so embarrassed. Veath actually staggered, and the girl’s tear-stained face and blinking eyes were suddenly lifted from the broad breast, to be turned, in mute surprise, upon the speaker.
“What did you say?” she gasped.
“I’m in love—the very worst way,” he hurried on, fingering his cap.
“And not with me?” she cried, as if it were beyond belief.
“Well, you see, I—I thought you were drowned—couldn’t blame me for that, could you? So—I—she was awfully good and sweet and—by George! I’d like to know how a fellow could help it! You don’t know how happy I am that you are in love with Veath, and you don’t know how happy it will make her. We were to have been married a week ago but—” he gulped and could not go on.
Grace’s eyes were sparkling, her voice was trembling with joy as she cried, running to his side:
“Is it really true—really true? Oh, how happy I am! I was afraid you would—”
“And I was equally afraid that you might—Whoop!” exploded Hugh, unable to restrain his riotous glee a second longer. Clasping her in his arms, he kissed her fervently; and all three joining hands, danced about the room like children, each so full of delight that there was no possible means of expressing it, except by the craziest of antics.
“But who is she?” broke out Grace excitedly, as soon as she could catch her breath.
“And where is she—can’t we see her?” put in Veath, slapping Hugh insanely on the back.
“She’s a goddess!” burst out Hugh, grabbing his cap and running out of the room, shouting hilariously: “Follow on, both of you, to the hotel, and see me worship at her shrine!”
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Hugh lost no time on the way back to the hotel. The lazy driver awoke his lazy horse and, to the intense amazement of both, the vehicle held together during the return trip. At least a dozen rattling bumps over rough places in the street caused the driver to glance apprehensively over his shoulder in the unusual fear that his fare and the cab had parted company. For the first time in ten years he was sufficiently interested to be surprised. It astonished him to find that the vehicle stuck together as a whole.