“Allow me.” said a deep and cultivated voice. “Extremely annoying.”
It was Mr. Bane, hat in hand. He restored the bag, and as Louise quietly thanked him they walked out of the Inn together. Louise was returning to Cap’n Abe’s store, and she turned in that direction before she saw that Mr. Bane was bound down the hill, too.
“I fancy we are fellow-outcasts,” he said. “You, too, are a visitor to this delightfully quaint place?”
“Yes, Mr. Bane,” she returned frankly. “Though I can claim relationship to some of these Cardhaven folk. My mother came from the Cape.”
“Indeed? It is not such a far cry to Broadway from any point of the compass, after all, is it?” and he smiled engagingly down at her.
“You evidently do not remember me, Mr. Bane?” she said, returning his smile. “Aboard the Anders Liner, coming up from Jamaica, two years ago this last winter? Professor Ernest Grayling is my father.”
“Indeed!” he exclaimed. “You are Miss Grayling? I remember you and your father clearly. Fancy meeting you here!” and Mr. Bane insisted on taking her hand. “And how is the professor? No need to ask after your health, Miss Grayling.”
As they walked on together Louise took more careful note of the actor. He had the full habit of a well-fed man, but was not gross. He was athletic, indeed, and his head was poised splendidly on broad shoulders. Louise saw that his face was massaged until it was as pink and soft as a baby’s, without a line of close shaving to be detected. The network of fine wrinkles at the outer corners of his eyes was scarcely distinguishable. That there was a faint dust of powder upon his face she noted, too.
Judson Bane was far, however, from giving the impression of effeminacy. Quite the contrary. He looked able to do heroic things in real life as well as in the drama. And as their walk and conversation developed, Louise Grayling found the actor to be an interesting person.
He spoke well and without bombast upon any subject she ventured on. His vocabulary was good and his speaking voice one of the most pleasing she had ever heard.
So interested was Louise in what Mr. Bane said that she scarcely noticed Lawford Tapp who passed and bowed to her, only inclining her head in return. Therefore she did not catch the expression on Lawford’s face.
“A fine-looking young fisherman,” observed Mr. Bane patronizingly.
“Yes. Some of them are good-looking and more intelligent than you would believe,” Louise rejoined carelessly. She had put Lawford Tapp aside as inconsequential.
THE DESCENT OF AUNT EUPHEMIA
It was mid forenoon the following day, and quite a week after Louise Grayling’s arrival at Cap’n Abe’s store on the Shell Road, that the stage was set for a most surprising climax.