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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Paradise Garden.

“I can’t let you go, Miss Habberton,” I said breathlessly, “without letting you know how contrite I am at a slip of the tongue which—­”

“It doesn’t matter in the least, Mr. Canby.  I have nothing to regret.”  And then, with her crooked little smile, “But you might have omitted the details.”

“I—­I—­” I stammered.

“It was I—­I who told—­” Jerry blurted out.  “I am to blame.  Why shouldn’t I tell?  Was there anything to be ashamed of?  For you?  For me?”

“No, Jerry.  The surest proof of it is that I’m not angry with you—­with either of you.  But I must be going.”

“I’m going with you,” said Jerry quickly.

“No.”

“Let him, Miss Habberton,” I put in.

“I had better go alone.”

“I forbid it,” said Jerry.  “The machine is at the upper gate.  I’ll drive you.  Come.”

She hesitated.  Our glances met.  I think she must have seen the eagerness in my face, the friendliness, the admiration.  She read too the revolt in Jerry’s eyes, the dawning of something like reason and of his grave sense of the injustice that had been done to her.  He pleaded almost piteously—­as though her acquiescence were the only sign he could have of her forgiveness.

“Very well,” she said at last, “to the station, then.”

“No,” said Jerry firmly, “to town.  I’m going to drive you to town.  We’ve got to have a talk.  We’ve got to—­to clear this thing up.”

She hesitated again and I think she felt the need of companionship at that moment.

“But your guests—­”

“Oh, I’ll be here,” I said.  “They’ll be going soon.  Jerry can be back in time for the party.”

“I’m not going to that party,” Jerry muttered savagely.

He meant it.  I bade them good-by—­watched them until they passed out of sight and hearing, and then sank on a nearby rock, and hugged my knees in quiet ecstasy.

CHAPTER XXI

JERRY ASKS QUESTIONS

Fortunately for me, neither Jack Ballard nor the expected overflow from the Van Wyck house-party came to disturb the serenity of my thoughts, Jack being suddenly called to Newport, the guests having been taken in elsewhere.  So I sat up alone for Jerry until late and finally went to bed, happily conscious that my embassy, impossible as it had seemed, had borne fruit after all.  Jerry did not go to Marcia Van Wyck’s party, and his evening clothes remained where Christopher had laid them out, on the bed in his room.  I gave myself an added pleasure in slumber that night by going in and looking at them before I sought my own room.  I cannot remember a night when I have slept more soundly and I rose refreshed and intensely eager to hear how things had gone with Jerry and the dear lady whom I had once so inaptly dubbed “the minx.”  At the breakfast table Poole informed me that Jerry had returned late to the Manor and was

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