“It comes to this, then,” she said, “that you make accusations against a man and deny him the right of being heard?”
“If you choose to put it like that, yes,” he assented. “Only I fancied that considering—considering the things between us, you might have taken my word.”
He leaned a little towards her. If she had been looking she could scarcely have failed to have been touched by the sudden softness of his dark eyes, the little note of appeal in his usually immobile face. Her eyes, however, were fixed upon the diamond ring which sparkled upon her third finger. Slowly she drew it off and handed it to him.
“Hugh,” she said, “the things you speak of do not exist any more between us. I am sorry, but I think you are narrow and suspicious. You have your own work to do. It seems to me mean to spend your time suspecting soldiers who have fought for their king and their country, of such a despicable crime.”
“Can’t you trust me a little more than that, Geraldine?” he asked wistfully.
“In what way?” she demanded. “I judge only by the facts, the things you have said to me, your accusations against Captain Granet. Why should you go out of your way to investigate cases of suspected espionage?”
“You cannot believe that I would do so unless I was convinced that it was my duty?”
“I cannot see that it is your business at all,” she told him shortly.
He rose from his place.
“I am very sorry, Geraldine,” he said. “I will keep this ring. You are quite free. But—look at me.”
Against her will she was forced to do as he bade her. Her own attitude, which had appeared to her so dignified and right, seemed suddenly weakened. She had the feeling of a peevish child.
“Geraldine,” he begged, “take at least the advice of a man who loves you. Wait.”
Even when he had opened the door she felt a sudden inclination to call him back. She heard him go down the hall, heard the front door open and close. She sat and looked in a dazed sort of way at the empty space upon her finger. Then she rose and went into the drawing-room, where her father and mother were still reading. She held out her hand.
“Mother,” she announced, “I am not engaged to Major Thomson any more.”
The Admiral laid down his newspaper.
“Damned good job, too!” he declared. “That young fellow Granet’s worth a dozen of him. Never could stick an Army Medical. Well, well! How did he take it?”