“You don’t trust my impulses,” I said.
She laughed. “Wait till to-morrow anyway,” she replied.
And as she spoke I heard far away, across the Park, the sound of the stable-clock at the Hall, striking twelve. The artificial sound of it was mellowed and altered by distance; as different from that theatrical first striking I had noticed in the exciting atmosphere of the crowd, as was my present state of mind from that in which I had expectantly waited the coming of romance....
“To-morrow begins now,” I said.
“And I have to be up before six,” she added, in the formal voice she knew so well how to assume.
I felt as though she had by that one return to civility cancelled all that she said, and as we turned back to the house, I began to wonder whether the promise of my probation was as assured as I had, a minute earlier, so confidently believed.
We were nearly at the little porch that would for ever be associated in my mind with the fumbling figure of Frank Jervaise, when she said,
“One moment. I’ll get you something,” and left me standing in almost precisely the same spot from which I had gazed up at her window the night before.
She returned almost immediately, but it was not until we were inside the house and she had lighted my candle that she gave me the “something,” pressing it into my hand with a sudden delicious, girlish embarrassment.
She was gone before I recognised that the precious thing she had given me was a sprig of Rosemary.
THE TRUE STORY
It was by the merest accident that we gathered that delightful piece of information—on our first trip to England, not quite three years after we were married.
I did not know that “The Mulberry Bush” had been revived for a few weeks as a stop-gap, until we saw the boards outside the theatre. Anne insisted that we should go in, and the arbiters of coincidence ordained that I should take seats in the stalls immediately behind one of those well-informed society women who know the truth about everything.
We were somewhat amused by her omniscience during the first interval, but it was not until the second that she came to the priceless report of our own two selves.
I was not listening to her when she began, but Anne’s sudden grasp of my arm and the inclination of her head, awoke me to the fact that the gossip just in front of us must, for some reason or other, be instantly attended to.
There was a good deal of chatter going on in the auditorium and I missed an occasional sentence here and there in addition to the opening, but there could be no doubt as to the application of the reminiscence I heard.
“Got himself into a scrape and had to leave the country,” was the first thing that reached me. “As a matter of fact I had the whole story from some one who was actually staying in the house at the time.” She dropped her voice as she added something confidentially of which I only caught the sound of the name Jervaise. Anne was squeezing my arm violently.