“The battery is spiked,” he whispered triumphantly. “Come along, Lady Claudia.”
Claudia hadn’t seen what Eugene had, but she obeyed, and off they went again, airily waving their hands.
“What’s the matter with her?” she asked.
Eugene was struggling with laughter.
“Didn’t you see? Haddington had her glove! Splendid!”
Claudia, regardless of safety, turned for an instant, a flushed, smiling face to him. He was about to speak, but she turned away again, exclaiming:
“Quick! I’ve promised to meet Father Stafford at twelve, and I mustn’t keep him waiting. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
Eugene was checked; Claudia saw it. What she thought is not revealed, but they returned home in somewhat gloomy silence. And it is a comfort to the narrator, and it is to be hoped to the reader, to think that Mr. Eugene Lane got something besides pleasure out of his discreditable performance and his lamentable want of proper feeling.
How Three Gentlemen Acted for the Best.
The schemers schemed and the waiters upon events waited with considerable patience, but although the days wore on, the situation showed little signs of speedy development. Matters were in fact in a rather puzzling position. The friendship and intimacy between Claudia and Stafford continued to increase. Eugene, whether in penitence or in pique, had turned with renewed zeal to his proper duties, and was no longer content to allow Kate to be monopolized by Haddington. The latter’s attentions had indeed been in danger of becoming too marked, and it is, perhaps, not uncharitable to attribute Kate’s apparent avoidance of them as much to considerations of expediency as of principle. At the same time, there was no coolness between Eugene and Haddington, and when his guest presented a valid excuse and proposed departure, Eugene met the suggestion with an obviously sincere opposition. Sir Roderick really could not make out what was going on. Now Sir Roderick disliked being puzzled; it conveyed a reflection on his acuteness, and he therefore was a sharer in the perturbation of mind that evidently afflicted some of his companions, in spite of their decorous behavior. But contentment was not wanting in some hearts. Morewood was happy in the pursuit of his art and in arguments with Stafford; and Bob Territon had found refuge in an energetic attempt to organize and train a Manor team to do battle with the village cricket club, headed as it had been for thirty years past by the Rector. Moreover, Stafford himself still seemed tranquil. It would have been difficult for most men to fail to understand their true position in such a case more fully than he, in spite of his usual penetration of vision, had succeeded in doing. But he was now in a strange country, and the landmarks of feeling whereby the experienced traveler on such paths can learn and note, even if