If Judson Bane was to be leading man of the company the picture was very likely to be an important production; for Bane would not leave the legitimate stage for any small salary. Seeing no women in the party and that the men were heading up the beach, Louise went no farther in that direction, and instead walked out upon the private dock to its end.
It was not until then that she saw, shooting inshore, the swift launch in which Lawford Tapp had come over in the morning previous. The wind being off the land she had not heard its exhaust. In three minutes the launch glided in beside the dock where she stood.
“Come for a sail, Miss Grayling?” he asked her, with his very widest smile. “I’ll take you out around Gull Rocks.”
“Oh! I am not sure——”
“Surely you’re not down here to work on Sunday?” and he glanced at the actors.
She laughed. “Oh, no, Mr. Tapp. I do not work on Sundays. Uncle Amazon would not even let me wash the dishes.”
“I should think not,” murmured Lawford with an appreciative glance at her ungloved hands. “He’s a pretty decent old fellow, I guess. Will you come aboard? She’s perfectly safe, Miss Grayling.”
If he had invited her to enter the big touring car he had driven that morning, to go for a “joy ride,” Louise Grayling would certainly have refused. To go on a pleasure trip at the invitation of a chauffeur in his employer’s car was quite out of consideration.
But this was somehow different, or so it seemed. She hesitated not because of who or what he was (or what she believed him to be), but because she had seen something in his manner and expression of countenance that warned her he was a young man not to be lightly encouraged.
In that moment of reflection Louise Grayling, asked herself if she felt that he possessed a more interesting personality than almost any man she had ever met socially before. She did so consider him, she told herself, and so—she stepped aboard the launch.
She did not need his hand to help her to the seat beside him. She was boatwise. He pushed off, starting his engine; and they were soon chug-chugging out upon the limitless sea.
THE LEADING MAN
“I saw you with Cap’n Amazon going to church this morning,” Lawford said. “To the First Church, I presume?”
“Oh, I drove the folks over to Paulmouth. There is an Episcopal Church there and the girls think it’s more fashionable. You don’t see many soft-collared shirts among the Paulmouth Episcopalians.”
There spoke the “native,” Louise thought; and she smiled.
“It scarcely matters, I fancy, which denomination one attends. It is the spirit in which we worship that counts.”
He gazed upon her seriously. “You’re a thoughtful girl, I guess. I should not have looked for that—in your business.”