“As regards what I said to you about the Count,” Mr. Weatherley continued, after a moment’s hesitation, “remember who I am that give you the advice, and who you are that receive it. Your bringing-up, I should imagine, has been different. Still, a young man of your age has to make up his mind what sort of a life he means to lead. I suppose, to a good many people,” he went on, reflectively, “my life would seem a common, dull, plodding affair. Somehow or other, I didn’t seem to find it so until—until lately. Still, there it is. I suppose I have lived in a little corner of the world, and what seems strange and wild to me might, after all, seem not so much out of the way to a young man with different ideas like you. Only, this much I do believe, at any rate,” he went on, buttoning up his coat and watching the taxicab which was coming along the street; “if you want a quiet, honest life, doing your duty to yourself and others, and living according to the old-fashioned standards of honesty and upright living, then when you have had that dinner with the Count Sabatini to-night, forget him, forget where he lives. Come back to your work here, and if the things of which the Count has been talking to you seem to have more glamor, forget them all the more zealously. The best sort of life is always the grayest. The life which attracts is generally the one to be avoided. We don’t do our duty,” Mr. Weatherley added, brushing his hat upon his sleeve reflectively, “by always looking out upon the pleasurable side of life. Good evening, Chetwode!”
He turned away so abruptly that Arnold had scarcely time to return his greeting. It seemed so strange to him to be talked to at such length by a man whom he had scarcely heard utter half a dozen words in his life, that he was left speechless. He was still standing before the window when Mr. Weatherley crossed the pavement to the waiting taxicab. In his walk and attitude the signs of the man’s deterioration were obvious. The little swagger of his younger days was gone, the bumptiousness of his bearing forgotten. He cast no glance up and down the pavement to hail an acquaintance. He muttered an address to the driver and stepped heavily into the taxicab.
CASTLES IN SPAIN
Ruth welcomed him with her usual smile—once he had thought it the most beautiful thing in the world. In the twilight of the April evening her face gleamed almost marble white. He dragged a footstool up to her side.
“Little woman, you are looking pale,” he declared. “Give me your hands to hold. Can’t you see that I have come just at the right time? Even the coal barges look like phantom boats. See, there is the first light.”
She shook her head slowly.
“To-night,” she murmured, “there will be no ships, Arnold. I have looked and looked and I am sure. Light the lamp, please.”
“Why?” he asked, obeying her as a matter of course.