I still held her hand, which was growing moist—and I suppose mine was too—and I didn’t like to drop it, for fear of hurting her feelings. I gave it a great squeeze. It was very difficult for me. Personally, I enjoyed the frank, untrammelled and prodigiously accomplished scion of a vulgar race. As a mere bachelor, isolated human, meeting him, I should have taken him joyously, if not to my heart, at any rate to my microscope and studied him and savoured him and got out of him all that there was of grotesqueness. But to every one of my household, save Susan who did not count, he was—I admit, deservedly—an object of loathing. So I squeezed Liosha’s hand.
“The beginning and end of the matter, my dear,” said I, “is that he’s not quite a gentleman.”
“All right,” said Liosha, liberating herself. “Now I know.”
She left me and sailed to the terrace. I use the metaphor advisedly. She had a way of walking like a full-rigged ship before a breeze.
“Ras Fendihook, it’s time we were going.”
Mr. Fendihook looked at his watch and jumped up.
“We must hook it!”
Barbara asked conventionally: “Won’t you stay to supper?”
“Great Scott, no!” he exclaimed. “No offence meant. You’re very kind. But it’s Ladies’ Night at the Rabbits and I’m Buck Rabbit for the evening and the Queen of Sheba’s coming as my guest.”
“Who are the Rabbits?” asked Doria.
Even I had heard of this Bohemian confraternity; and I explained with a learned inaccuracy that evoked a semi-circular grin on the pink, fleshy face of Mr. Ras Fendihook.
* * * * *
“Ouf! Thank goodness!” said Barbara as the two-seater scuttered away down the drive.
“Yes, indeed,” said Doria.
Jaffery shook his fist at the disappearing car.
“One of these days, I’ll break his infernal neck!”
“Why?” asked Doria, on a sharp note of enquiry.
“I don’t like him,” said Jaffery. “And he’s taking her out to dine among all that circus crowd. It’s damnable!”
“For the lady whose father stuck pigs in Chicago,” said Doria. “I should think it was rather a rise in the social scale.”
And she went indoors with her nose in the air. To every one save the puzzled Jaffery it was obvious that she disapproved of his interest in Liosha.
“The Greater Glory” came out in due season, puzzled the reviewers and made a sensation; a greater sensation even than a legitimate successor to “The Diamond Gate” dictated by the spirit of Tom Castleton. The contrast was so extraordinary, so inexplicable. It was generally concluded that no writer but Adrian Boldero, in the world’s history, had ever revealed two such distinct literary personalities as those that informed the two novels. The protean nature of his genius aroused universal wonder. His death