Next morning, with all this wonderful world of sea and islands shining in the early sunlight, Mr. White and his daughter were down by the shore, walking along the white sands, and chatting idly as they went. From time to time they looked across the fair summer seas to the distant cliffs of Bourg; and each time they looked a certain small white speck seemed coming nearer. That was the Umpire; and Keith Macleod was on board of her. He had started at an unknown hour of the night to bring the yacht over from her anchorage. He would not have his beautiful Fionaghal, who had come as a stranger to these far lands, go back to Dare in a common open boat with stones for ballast.
“This is the loneliest place I have ever seen,” Miss Gertrude White was saying on this the third morning after her arrival. “It seems scarcely in the world at all. The sea cuts you off from everything you know; it would have been nothing if we had come by rail.”
They walked on in silence, the blue waves beside them curling a crisp white on the smooth sands.
“Pappy,” said she, at length, “I suppose if I lived here for six months no one in England would know anything about me? If I were mentioned at all, they would think I was dead. Perhaps some day I might meet some one from England; and I would have to say, ’Don’t you know who I am? Did you never hear of one called Gertrude White? I was Gertrude White.’”
“No doubt,” said her father, cautiously.
“And when Mr. Lemuel’s portrait of me appears in the Academy, people would be saying, ‘Who is that?’ Miss Gertrude White, as Juliet? Ah, there was an actress of that name. Or was she an amateur? She married somebody in the Highlands. I suppose she is dead now?”
“It is one of the most gratifying instances, Gerty, of the position you have made,” her father observed, in his slow and sententious way, “that Mr. Lemuel should be so willing, after having refused to exhibit at the Academy for so many years, to make an exception in the case of your portrait.”
“Well, I hope my face will not get burned by the sea-air and the sun,” she said. “You know he wants two or three more sittings. And do you know, pappy, I have sometimes thought of asking you to tell me honestly—not to encourage me with flattery, you know—whether my face has really that high-strung pitch of expression when I am about to drink the poison in the cell. Do I really look like Mr. Lemuel’s portrait of me?”
“It is your very self, Gerty,” her father said, with decision. “But then Mr. Lemuel is a man of genius. Who but himself could have caught the very soul of your acting and fixed it on canvas?”
She hesitated for a moment, and then there was a flush of genuine enthusiastic pride mantling on her forehead as she said, frankly,—
“Well, then, I wish I could see myself!”