Three people never forgot that face. It was a pity that the lady at his side was prevented from seeing it by her position, for otherwise life might have gone differently with both. But the things which we call chance are in the power of the Fateful Goddesses who reserve their right to juggle with poor humanity.
Alice only heard the words, but they pleased her. Mr. Stocks fell farther into the background of disfavour. She had imagination and fire as well as common sense. It was the purple and fine gold which first caught her fancy, though on reflection she might decide for the hodden-grey. So she was very gracious to the young adventurer. And Arthur’s brows grew dark as Erebus.
Lewis rode home in the late afternoon to Etterick in a haze of golden weather with an abstracted air and a slack bridle. A small, dainty figure tripped through the mazes of his thoughts. This man, usually oblivious of woman’s presence, now mooned like any schoolboy. Those fresh young eyes and the glory of that hair! And to think that once he had sworn by black!
A CONFERENCE OP THE POWERS
It was the sultriest of weather in London—days when the city lay in a fog of heat, when the paving cracked, and the brow was damp from the slightest movement and the mind of the stranger was tortured by the thought of airy downs and running rivers. The leaves in the Green Park were withered and dusty, the window-boxes in Mayfair had a tarnished look, and horse and man moved with unwilling languor. A tall young man in a grey frockcoat searched the street for shadow, and finding none entered the doorway of a club which promised coolness.
Mr. George Winterham removed his top-hat, had a good wash, and then sought the smoking room. Seen to better advantage, he was sufficiently good-looking, with an elegant if somewhat lanky frame, a cheerful countenance, and a great brown moustache which gave him the air military. But he was no soldier, being indeed that anomalous creature, the titular barrister, who shows his profession by rarely entering the chambers and by an ignorance of law more profound than Necessity’s.
He found the shadiest corner of the smoking room and ordered the coolest drink he could think of. Then he smiled, for he saw advancing to him across the room another victim of the weather. This was a small, thin man, with a finely-shaped dark head and the most perfectly-fitting clothes. He had been deep in a review, but at the sight of the wearied giant in the corner he had forgotten his interest in the “Entomology of the Riviera.” He looked something of the artist or the man of letters, but in truth he had no taint of Bohemianism about him, being a very respectable person and a rising politician. His name was Arthur Mordaunt, but because it was the fashion at the time for a certain class of people to address each other in monosyllables, his friends invariably knew him as “John.”