Anna and Sanderson exchanged looks. Robert Maynard bit his lips and turned away. He realized that the dearest wish of his life was beyond reach of it forever. “Ah, well,” he murmured to himself—“who could have a chance against Lennox Sanderson?”
The conquering hero is disposed to be human.
“Her lips are roses over-wash’d
Or like the purple of narcissus’ flower;
No frost their fair, no wind doth waste their powers,
But by her breath her beauties do renew.”—Robert Greene.
The dusk of an autumn afternoon was closing in on the well-filled library of Mrs. Standish Tremont’s Beacon street home. The last rays of sunlight filtered softly through the rose silk curtains and blended with the ruddy glow of fire-light. The atmosphere of this room was more invitingly domestic than that of any other room in Mrs. Tremont’s somewhat bleakly luxurious home.
Perhaps it was the row upon row of books in their scarlet leather bindings, perhaps it was the fine old collection of Dutch masterpieces, portraying homely scenes from Dutch life, that robbed the air of the chilling effect of the more formal rooms; but, whatever was the reason, the fact remained that the library was the room in which to dream dreams, appreciate comfort and be content.
At least so it seemed to Anna Moore, as she glanced from time to time at the tiny French clock that silently ticked away the hours on the high oaken mantel-piece. Anna had dressed for tea with more than usual care on this particular Saturday afternoon. She wore a simply made house gown of heavy white cloth, that hung in rich folds about her exquisite figure, that might have seemed over-developed in a girl of eighteen, were it not for the long slender throat and tapering waist of more than usual slenderness.
The dark hair was coiled high on top of the shapely head, and a few tendrils strayed about her neck and brow. She wore no ornaments—not even the simplest pin.
She was curled up in a great leather chair, in front of the open fire, playing with a white angora kitten, who climbed upon her shoulder and generally conducted himself like a white ball of animated yarn. It was too bad that there was no painter at hand to transfer to canvas so lovely a picture as this girl in her white frock made, sitting by the firelight in this mellow old room, playing with a white imp of a kitten. It would have made an ideal study in white and scarlet.
How comfortable it all was; the book-lined walls, the repose and dignity of this beautiful home, with its corps of well-trained servants waiting to minister to one’s lightest wants. The secure and sheltered feeling that it gave appealed strongly to the girl, who but a little while ago had enjoyed similar surroundings in her father’s house.