I am sending out for some flowers for our guest and I hope that they will convey to her my greeting. If there is anything that you would have, it is yours if it is in my power to give. My sister is indisposed, but will visit you when her indisposition will permit. This afternoon I will see you and report the result of our protests to the authorities. Until then, be tranquil, and accommodate yourself here.
A tacit apology, thought Arlee, pondering the dull letter a moment, then dropping it to touch the roses with light fingers. The young man’s wits had evidently returned with the sun. He had utterly lost them last night with the starshine and the shadows and his Oriental conception of the intimacy of the situation—but, after all, he had too much good sense not to be aware of the folly of annoying her. Her cheeks flushed a little warmer at the memory of the bold words and the lordly hand on her arm, and her heart quickened in its beating. She had certainly been playing with fire, and the sparks she had so ignorantly struck had lighted for her an unforgettable glimpse of the Oriental nature beneath all its English polish, but she imagined, very fearlessly, that the spark was out. She was not a nature that was easily alarmed or daunted; beneath her look of delicate fragility was a very sturdy confidence, and she had the implicit sense of security instinct in the kitten whose blithe days have known nothing but kindness. Yet she felt herself tremendously experienced and initiated....
She wrote back a word of thanks for the flowers and a request for writing paper and ink, and when they were brought she wrote three most urgent letters, and after an instant’s hesitation a fourth—to the Viceroy himself. Feeling that his mail might be bulky, she marked it “Immediate” in large characters and gave them to the maid, who nodded intelligently and shuffled away.
It was very odd, she thought then, that she had no letters. By now the Evershams must surely have written—she had begged them to.... But she was not going to be silly and panicky, she determinedly informed that queer little catch in her side which came at the thought of her isolation, and humming defiantly she sat down at the white piano and opened the score of a light opera which she knew:
Say not love is a dream,
Say not that hope is vain ...
She had danced to that tune last night—no, the night before last—danced to it with that extraordinarily impulsive young man from home—for all America was now home to her spirit. And she had promised to see him last night. She wondered what he had thought of her absence.... She could imagine the Evershams dolefully deploring her rashness, yet not without a totally unconscious tinge of proper relish at its prompt punishment. They were such dismal old dears! They would complain—they must have made her the talk of the hotel by now. Robert Falconer would enjoy that! And his sister and Lady Claire would ask about her, and Lady Claire would say, “How odd—fancy!” in that rather clipped and high-bred voice of hers.... But she was not going to think about it!