“You are not well; you are looking pale and troubled, and—pardon me if I am wrong, but I think you have been crying.”
“I must beg, sir,” she retorts, with excessive hauteur, removing her hand from his arm, as though his pressure had burned her—“I must beg, you will not trouble yourself to study my countenance. Your doing so is most offensive to me.”
“To see you in trouble, and not long to help or comfort you is impossible to me,” goes on Dynecourt, unmoved by her scorn. “Are you still dwelling on the past—on what is irrevocable? Have you had fresh cause to remember it to-day?”
There is a gleam of malice in his eyes, but Florence, whose gaze is turned disdainfully away from him, fails to see it. She changes color indeed beneath his words, but makes him no reply, and, when they reach the dining-room, in a very marked manner she takes a seat far removed from his.
There is a sinister expression in his eyes and round his mouth as he notes this studied avoidance.
It is now “golden September,” and a few days later. For the last fortnight Florence has been making strenuous efforts to leave the castle, but Dora would not hear of their departure, and Florence, feeling it will be selfish of her to cut short Dora’s happy hours with her supposed lover, sighs, and gives in, and sacrifices her own wishes on the altar of friendship.
It is five o’clock, and all the men, gun in hand, have been out since early dawn. Now they are coming straggling home, in ones or twos. Amongst the first to return are Sir Adrian and his cousin Arthur Dynecourt, who, having met accidentally about a mile from home, have trudged the remainder of the way together.
On the previous night at dinner, Miss Delmaine had spoken of a small gold bangle, a favorite of hers, she was greatly in the habit of wearing. She said she had lost it—when or where she could not tell; and she expressed herself as being very grieved for its loss, and had laughingly declared she would give any reward claimed by any one who should restore it to her. Two or three men had, on the instant, pledged themselves to devote their lives to the search; but Adrian had said nothing. Nevertheless, the bangle and the reward remained in his mind all that night and all to-day. Now he can not refrain from speaking about it to the man he considers his rival.
“Odd thing about Miss Delmaine’s bangle,” he remarks carelessly.
“Very odd. I dare say her maid has put it somewhere and forgotten it.”
“Hardly. One would not put a bracelet anywhere but in a jewel-case, or in a special drawer. She must have dropped it somewhere.”
“I dare say; those Indian bangles are very liable to be rubbed off the wrist.”
“But where? I have had the place searched high and low, and still no tidings of it can be found.”