“By that time she will be Mrs. Graeme, and I am sure very happy,” shrugged the Vicar. “Non—you can do nothing, and, if you will be guided, you will not try.”
And Charles Svendt lapsed into thoughtfulness.
“This is the Seigneurie,” said Graeme, as they turned off the road, through the latched gate, into the deep-shaded avenue.
The Seigneur came to them in the Long Drawing-Room, where once upon a time the peacocks danced on the Queen’s luncheon.
“Your time is getting short, Mr. Graeme,” he said, with a quiet smile. “I hear of great doings in preparation at St. Magloire”—which was the official title of the Red House. “Have you given the doctor fair warning?”
“Oh, we’ll try to keep them within bounds, Seigneur. My friend, Mr. Pixley here,”—the Seigneur made Mr. Pixley a seigneurial bow,—“has it in his mind to stop the proceedings if he can—”
“Oh?” said the Seigneur, with a glower of surprise. “And why?”
“Well, you see,” said Pixley, “Miss Brandt is under age. She is my father’s ward and he has other views for her—”
“Which obviously do not agree with Miss Brandt’s.”
“That is as it may be. But she is acting absolutely in opposition to his expressed wishes in this matter, and until she is of age she is under his authority.”
“Just as far as he is in position to exert it, I presume.”
“He is now applying to have her made a ward in Chancery, when, of course, she will be under the jurisdiction of the court.”
“If you come to me, Mr. Pixley, when Miss Brandt is a ward of court, I will tell you now what my answer would be. I should tell you that your English court has no jurisdiction here. Miss Brandt is out of bounds and is quite free to do as she pleases. I have had the pleasure of making her acquaintance and Mr. Graeme’s, and I should be sorry—for you—if you did anything to annoy them. In fact—” and he looked so fixedly at Charles Svendt, while evidently revolving some extreme idea in his mind, that that young gentleman’s assurance fell several degrees, and he found himself thinking of dungeons and deportation.
It was to Graeme, however, that the Seigneur turned.
“If you have any reason to fear annoyance in this matter, Mr. Graeme, perhaps you will let me know as early as possible, and I will take measures—”
“Thousand thanks, Seigneur! Mr. Pixley will, I hope, think better of it. If not—well, I will send you word.”
Pixley was very silent as they walked back along the road to the Red House.
The ladies had tea ready on the verandah.
“Well, Charles,” said Margaret, as he bowed before them, and Graeme nodded and smiled reassuringly at her over his back, “I won’t pretend that I’m glad to see you. Why did you undertake so foolish an errand?”