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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 81 pages of information about The Gay Lord Quex.

QUEX.

I entreat you to consider my position.

DUCHESS.

Yours! have I no reputation to endanger? [Rising—­laying the paper aside.] What a pitiably small request! you will grant it?

QUEX.

If you could see your way to excuse me—­

DUCHESS.

In memory of the past—!  I demand it!

QUEX.

[With a stiff bow.] Oh—­oh, certainly.

DUCHESS.

[Leaving him.] Thank you.

QUEX.

[To himself.] Damn!

[He turns on his heel and walks away.

DUCHESS.

[Joining MURIEL.] You are coming to dress?

MURIEL.

[After smiling assent, presenting SOPHY.] Miss Fullgarney was my first playmate, Duchess.

DUCHESS.

[Looking upon SOPHY graciously.] Ah? [To MURIEL.] The souvenirs of childhood are sweet, are they not?

[She slips her arm through MURIEL’S, and they ascend the steps and go away together. SOPHY comes to the stone bench on the left, upon which she deposits her bag.  She opens the bag, produces a little mirror and a comb, and puts her “fringe” in order—­humming as she does so an air from the latest comic opera.  Then she returns the comb and mirror to the bag and—­bag in hand—­prepares to depart.  While this is going on QUEX returns, above the low hedge.  He ascends the steps and looks off into the distance, watching the retreating figure of the DUCHESS. After a moment or two he shrugs his shoulders in a perplexed, troubled way, and, coming down the steps, encounters SOPHY.

SOPHY.

[Innocently.] Lovely evening, my lord.

QUEX.

[Passing her, with a nod and a smile.] Very—­very.

[At the table, he exchanges the newspaper he carries for another.  She is going in the direction indicated by MURIEL. Suddenly she pauses, above the dwarf cypress-hedge, and stands looking at QUEX with an expression in which fear and determination are mingled.  Having selected his newspaper, QUEX crosses to the left and sits, reading.

SOPHY.

[Coming to him.] I don’t think I shall go, after all.

QUEX.

[Lowering his paper.] Eh?

SOPHY.

I was just starting off down to the gates, you know, to meet Mr. Valma.

QUEX.

[With amiable indifference.] Oh?

SOPHY.

[Her head upon one side, smiling.] But it’s too hot for walking, isn’t it?

QUEX.

[Resuming his reading.] It is warm.

SOPHY.

[Putting her bag upon the table and removing her gloves.] Phew!

[She eyes him askance, undecided, as to a plan of action.  He lowers his paper again, disconcerting her.

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