“Did I tell you that I met Singleton a little while ago?” she said. “I think he wished to speak, but I merely bowed. I was in a hurry, for one thing.”
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it, but you did quite right. Since he was here, one or two of the other directors who tried to give me some trouble have got hold of him. They have sent him out to see what can be done with the rubber property.”
“Was that worth while?”
“I shouldn’t think so. It strikes me they’re wasting their money.”
This was Herbert’s firm belief, but his judgment while generally accurate, had, in this instance, proved defective. He had failed properly to estimate Singleton’s capabilities. It was, however, obvious to Sylvia that he had had no part in the undertaking, and had abandoned his rubber schemes, which implied that George’s loss would be serious. There was no doubt that it would suit both Herbert and herself better if George did not come back too soon.
“Well,” she said, “that is not a matter of any consequence to me. After all, I think I’ll go south with you and Muriel.”
Herbert had foreseen this decision.
“It’s the most suitable arrangement,” he responded. “When I write, I’ll mention it to George.”
Sylvia went out a little later with a sense of guilt; she felt that in removing the strongest inducement for George’s visit she had betrayed him. She was sorry for George, but she could not allow any consideration for him to interfere with her ambitions. Then she resolutely drove these thoughts away. The matter could be looked at in a more pleasant light, and there were several good reasons for the course she had adopted.
Entering the library, she carefully wrote a little note to Captain Bland, and then went in search of Mrs. Lansing.
“I think I’ll go over to Susan’s for the week-end,” she announced. “I promised her another visit, and now I can explain that I’m going away with you.”
Mrs. Lansing made no objection, and three or four days afterward Sylvia met Bland at Mrs. Kettering’s house. He arrived after her, and as there were other guests, she had to wait a little while before she could get a word with him alone. She was standing in the big hall, which was unoccupied, rather late in the evening, when he came toward her.
“I thought I should never escape from Kettering; but he’s safe for a while, talking guns in the smoking-room,” he said.
Sylvia thought that they would be safe from interruption for a few minutes, which would serve her purpose.
“So you have managed to get here,” she said.
“Had you any doubt of my succeeding?” Bland asked reproachfully. “Kettering once gave me a standing invitation, and, as it happens, there’s a famous horse dealer in this neighborhood with whom I’ve had some business. That and the few Sunday trains formed a good excuse. I, however, don’t mind in the least if Mrs. Kettering attaches any significance to the visit.”