“But you could not get away by the twenty-first,” she returned, trying to take it for granted that the idea included him.
“Oh, I don’t propose going,” Mr. Cardiff returned from behind his newspaper.
“But, daddy, they intend to be away for a year.”
“About that. Lady Halifax has arranged a capital itinerary. They mean to come back by India.”
“And pray what would become of you all by yourself for a year, sir?” asked Janet brightly. “Besides, we were always going to do that trip together.” She had a stubborn inward determination not to recognize this difference that had sprung up between them. It was only a phase, she told herself, of her father’s miserable feeling just now; it would last another week, another fortnight, and then things would be as they had been before. She would not let herself believe in it, hurt as it might.
Mr. Cardiff lowered his paper. “Don’t think of that,” he said over the top of it. “There is really no occasion. I shall get on very well. There is always the club, you know. And this is an opportunity you ought not to miss.”
Janet said nothing, and Lawrence Cardiff went back to his newspaper. She tried to go on with her breakfast, but scalding tears stood in her eyes, and she could not swallow. She was unable to command herself far enough to ask to be excused, and she rose abruptly and left the room with her face turned carefully away.
Cardiff followed her with his eyes and gave an uncomprehending shrug. He looked at his watch; there was still half an hour before he need leave the house. It brought him an uncomfortable thought that he might go and comfort Janet—it was evident that something he had said had hurt her—she was growing absurdly hypersensitive. He dismissed the idea—Heaven only knew into what complications it might lead them. He spent the time instead in a restless walk up and down the room, revolving whether Elfrida Bell would or would not be brought to reconsider her refusal to let him take her to “Faust” that night—he never could depend upon her.
Janet had not seen John Kendal since the afternoon he came to her radiant with his intention of putting all of Elfrida’s elusive charm upon canvas, full of its intrinsic difficulties, eager for her sympathy, depending on her enthusiastic interest. She had disappointed him—she did her best, but the sympathy and enthusiasm and interest would not come. She could not tell him why—her broken friendship was still sacred to her for what it had been. Besides, explanations were impossible. So she listened and approved with a strained smile, and led him, with a persistence he did not understand, to talk of other things. He went away chilled and baffled, and he had not come again. She knew that he was painting with every nerve tense and eager, in oblivion to all but his work and the face that inspired it. Elfrida, he told her, was to give him three sittings a week, of an hour each, and he