“It was,” Lord Arranmore remarked, “a very foolish thing to do.”
“Who or what you were before you came to Montreal I do not know,” she continued, “but there you brought misery and ruin upon every one connected with you. I was a child in those days, but I remember how you were hated. You broke the heart of Durran Lapage, an honest man whom you called your friend, and you left his wife to starve in a common lodging house. There was never a man or woman who showed you kindness that did not live to regret it. You may be the Marquis of Arranmore now, but you have left a life behind the memory of which should be a constant torture to you.”
“Have you finished, young lady?” he asked, coldly.
“Yes, I have finished,” she answered. “I pray Heaven that the next time we meet may be in the police-court. The police of Montreal are still looking for Philip Ferringshaw, and they will find in me a very ready witness.”
“Upon my word, this is a most unpleasant young person,” Lord Arranmore said. “Brooks, do see her off the premises before she changes her mind and comes for me again. You have, I hope, been entertained, ladies,” he added, turning to Sybil and Lady Caroom.
He eyed them carelessly enough to all appearance, yet with an inward searchingness which seemed to find what it feared. He turned to Brooks, but he and Mary Scott had left the room together.
“The girl-was terribly in earnest,” Lady Caroom said, with averted eyes. “Were you not—a little cruel to her, Arranmore? Not that I believe these horrid things, of course. But she did. She was honest.”
Lord Arranmore shrugged his shoulders. He was looking out of the window, out into the grey windy darkness, listening to the raindrops splashing against the window-pane, wondering how long Brooks would be, and if in his face too he should see the shadow, and it seemed to him that Brooks lingered a very long time.
“Shall we finish our game of billiards, Catherine?” he asked, turning towards her.
“Well—I think not,” she answered. “I am a little tired, and it is almost time the dressing bell rang. I think Sybil and I will go up-stairs.”
They passed away—he made no effort to detain them. He lit a cigarette, and paced the room impatiently. At last he rang the bell.
“Where is Mr. Brooks?” he asked.
“Mr. Brooks has only just returned, my lord,” the man answered. “He went some distance with the young lady. He has gone direct to his room.”
Lord Arranmore nodded. He threw himself into his easy-chair, and his head sank upon his hand. He looked steadfastly into the heart of the red coals.
THE MARQUIS MEPHISTOPHELES
“I am so sorry,” she said, softly, “our last evening is spoilt.”
He shook his head with an effort at gaiety.
“Let us conspire,” he said. “You and I at least will make a struggle.”