Anne drew herself suddenly, almost roughly, away from Blanche, and pointed out to the steps.
“There is somebody coming,” she said. “Look!”
The person coming was Arnold. It was Blanche’s turn to play, and he had volunteered to fetch her.
Blanche’s attention—easily enough distracted on other occasions—remained steadily fixed on Anne.
“You are not yourself,” she said, “and I must know the reason of it. I will wait till to-night; and then you will tell me, when you come into my room. Don’t look like that! You shall tell me. And there’s a kiss for you in the mean time!”
She joined Arnold, and recovered her gayety the moment she looked at him.
“Well? Have you got through the hoops?”
“Never mind the hoops. I have broken the ice with Sir Patrick.”
“What! before all the company!”
“Of course not! I have made an appointment to speak to him here.”
They went laughing down the steps, and joined the game.
Left alone, Anne Silvester walked slowly to the inner and darker part of the summer-house. A glass, in a carved wooden frame, was fixed against one of the side walls. She stopped and looked into it—looked, shuddering, at the reflection of herself.
“Is the time coming,” she said, “when even Blanche will see what I am in my face?”
She turned aside from the glass. With a sudden cry of despair she flung up her arms and laid them heavily against the wall, and rested her head on them with her back to the light. At the same moment a man’s figure appeared—standing dark in the flood of sunshine at the entrance to the summer-house. The man was Geoffrey Delamayn.
He advanced a few steps, and stopped. Absorbed in herself, Anne failed to hear him. She never moved.
“I have come, as you made a point of it,” he said, sullenly. “But, mind you, it isn’t safe.”
At the sound of his voice, Anne turned toward him. A change of expression appeared in her face, as she slowly advanced from the back of the summer-house, which revealed a likeness to her moth er, not perceivable at other times. As the mother had looked, in by-gone days, at the man who had disowned her, so the daughter looked at Geoffrey Delamayn—with the same terrible composure, and the same terrible contempt.
“Well?” he asked. “What have you got to say to me?”
“Mr. Delamayn,” she answered, “you are one of the fortunate people of this world. You are a nobleman’s son. You are a handsome man. You are popular at your college. You are free of the best houses in England. Are you something besides all this? Are you a coward and a scoundrel as well?”
He started—opened his lips to speak—checked himself—and made an uneasy attempt to laugh it off. “Come!” he said, “keep your temper.”