“It hasn’t been for my own sake,” he said, his voice still shaking with the anger he could not subdue.
Tudor made no response. He stood with his eyes fixed steadily upon Phil’s agitated face. And, as if compelled by that searching gaze, Phil reiterated the assertion.
“If I had only had myself to consider,” he said, “I shouldn’t have—stooped—to offer an explanation.”
“Let me remind you,” Tudor said quietly, “that I have not asked for one.”
“You prefer to misunderstand?” said Phil quickly.
“I prefer to take my own view,” amended Tudor. “If you are wise—you will be satisfied to leave it so.”
It was final, and, though far from satisfied, Phil felt the futility of further discussion. He turned to the door.
“Very well, sir,” he said briefly, and went out, holding his head high.
As for Tudor, he sat down again before his writing-table with an unmoved countenance, and after a short interval took up his correspondence. There was no anger in his eyes.
AT THE DANCE
Audrey saw no more of Phil Turner for some days. She did not enjoy much of her husband’s society, either. He appeared to be too busy to think of her, and she in consequence spent most of her time with Mrs. Raleigh. But Phil, who had been one of the latter’s most constant visitors, did not show himself there.
It did not occur to Audrey that he absented himself on her account, and she was disappointed not to meet him. Next perhaps to the surgeon’s wife, she had begun to regard him as her greatest friend. Certainly the tie of obligation that bound them together was one that seemed to warrant an intimate friendship. Moreover, Phil had been exceptionally kind to her in distress, kinder far than Eustace had ever been.
She was growing away from her husband very rapidly, and she knew it, mourned over it even in softer moments; but she felt powerless to remedy the evil. It seemed so obvious to her that he did not care.
So she spent more and more of her hours away from the bungalow that had been made so dainty for her presence, and Eustace never seemed to notice that she was absent from his side.
He accompanied her always when she went out in the evening, but he no longer intruded his guardianship upon her, and deep in her inmost heart this thing hurt his young wife as nothing had ever hurt her before. She had her own way in all matters, but it gave her no pleasure; and the feeling that, though he might not approve of what she did, he would never remonstrate, grew and festered within her till she sometimes marvelled that he did not read her misery in her eyes.
She met Phil Turner again at length at a regimental dance. As usual her card was quickly filled, but she reserved a waltz for him, and after a while he came across and asked her for one.