If she expected some compliment in reply she was disappointed. He stood in silence.
Half-startled she glanced at him. In the same moment he held out his hand to her with a formal gesture of leave-taking.
“I will tell you another time,” he said. “Good night!”
She gave him her hand, but he scarcely held it. The next instant, with a brief bow, he had turned and left her.
Burleigh Wentworth looked around him with a frown of discontent.
He ought to have been in good spirits. Life on the moors suited him. The shooting was excellent, the hospitality beyond reproach. But yet he was not satisfied. People had wholly ceased to eye him askance. He had come himself to look back upon his trial as a mere escapade. It had been an unpleasant experience. He had been a fool to run such a risk. But it was over, and he had come out with flying colours, thanks to Percival Field’s genius. A baffling, unapproachable sort of man—Field! The affair of his marriage was still a marvel to Wentworth. He had a strong suspicion that there was more in the conquest than met the eye, but he knew he would never find out from Field.
Violet was getting enigmatical too, but he couldn’t stand that. He would put a stop to it. She might be a married woman, but she needn’t imagine she was going to keep him at a distance.
She and her husband had joined the house-party of which he was a member the day before. It was the end of their honeymoon, and they were returning to town after their sojourn on the moors. He grimaced to himself at the thought. How would Violet like town in September? He had asked her that question the previous night, but she had not deigned to hear. Decidedly, Violet was becoming interesting. He would have to penetrate that reserve of hers.
He wondered why she was not carrying a gun. She had always been such an ardent sportswoman. He would ask her that also presently. In fact, he felt inclined to go back and ask her now. He was not greatly enjoying himself. It was growing late, and it had begun to drizzle.
His inclination became the more insistent, the more he thought of it. Yes, he would go. He was intimate enough with his host to do as he liked without explanation. And he and Violet had always been such pals. Besides, the thought of sitting with her in the firelight while her husband squelched about in the rain was one that appealed to him. He had no liking for Field, however deeply he might be in his debt. That latent antagonism between them was perpetually making itself felt. He hated the man for the very ability by which he himself had been saved. He hated his calm superiority. Above all, he hated him for marrying Violet. It seemed that he had only to stretch out his hand for whatever he wanted. Still, he hadn’t got everything now, Wentworth said to himself, as he strode impatiently back over the moor. Possibly, as time went on, he might even come to realise that what he had was not worth very much.