“I wish you would tell me-what you really think,” said Kendal audaciously.
Janet sipped her coffee nervously. “I—I have no right to think,” she returned. “I am not in Frida’s confidence in the matter. But of course she is perfectly right, from, her point of view.”
“Ah!” Kendal said, “her point of view.”
Janet looked up at him with a sudden perception of the coldness of his tone. In spite of herself it gave her keen happiness, until the reflection came that probably he resented her qualification, and turned her heart to lead. She searched her soul for words.
“If she wants to do this thing, she has taken, of course, the only way to do it well. She does not need any justification—none at all. I wish she were back,” Janet went on desperately, “but only for my own sake—I don’t like being out of it with her; not for any reason connected with what she is doing.”
There was an appreciable pause between them. “Let me put down your cup,” suggested Kendal.
Turning to her again, he said gravely, “I saw Miss Bell at Cheynemouth, too.” Janet’s hands trembled as she fastened the fur at her throat. “And I also wish she were back. But my reason is not, I am afraid, so simple as yours.”
“Here is daddy,” Janet answered, “and I know he wants to go. I don’t think my father is looking quite as well as he ought to. He doesn’t complain, but I suspect him of concealed neuralgia. Please give him a lecture upon over-doing—it’s the predominant vice of his character!”
Elfrida spent five weeks with the Peach Blossom Company on their provincial tour, and in the end the manager was sorry to lose her. He was under the impression that she had joined them as an aspiring novice, presumably able to gratify that or any other whim. He had guessed that she was clever, and could see that she was extremely good-looking. Before the month was out he was congratulating himself upon his perception much as Rattray had a habit of doing, and was quite ready to give Elfrida every encouragement she wanted to embrace the burlesque stage seriously—it was a thundering pity she hadn’t voice enough for comic opera. He had nothing to complain of; the arrangement had been for a few weeks only, and had cost him the merest trifle of travelling expenses; but the day Elfrida went back to town he was inclined to parley with her, to discuss the situation, and to make suggestions for her future plan of action. His attitude of visible regret added another thrill to the joy the girl had in the thought of her undertaking; it marked a point of her success, she thought, at least so far as preliminaries went. Already, as she shrank fastidiously into the corner of a third-class travelling-carriage, her project seemed to have reached its original and notable materialization. Chapters passed before her eyes as they do sometimes in dreams,