“Why don’t you try to find her?” Henry asked.
“Perhaps I mean to some day. I have thought of doing so often, but first China, and then one thing and another have stopped me—besides, she may have fancied some other fellow by this time—the whole thing was one of those colossal mistakes. If we could only have met ordinarily—and not married in a hurry and then parted—like that.”
“Has it never struck you she was rather young to be left to drift by herself?”
“Yes, often—” Then Michael grew a little constrained. “I believe I behaved like the most impossible brute, Henry—in marrying her at all as you said—but I would like to make it up to her some day—and I suppose if, by chance, she has taken a fancy to someone else by this time and wants to be free of me, I ought to divorce her—but, by Heaven, I believe I should hate that!”
“You dog in the manger!”
“Yes, I am——”
And so the subject had ended.
And now Henry, third Lord Fordyce, was taking a mild cure at Carlsbad, and had decided that in his leisure moments he would begin to write a book—a project which had long simmered in his brain; but after two days of sitting by the American party at each meal, a very strong desire to converse with them—especially the one with the strange violet eyes—overcame him; and with deliberate intention he scraped acquaintance with Mr. Cloudwater in the exercise room of the Kaiserbad, who, with polite ceremony, presented him that evening to his daughter and her friend.
Sabine had been particularly silent and irritating, Moravia thought, and as they went up to bed she scolded her about it.
“He is a perfect darling, Sabine,” she declared, “and will do splendidly to take walks with us and make the fourth. He is so lazy and English and phlegmatic—I’d like to make him crazy with love—but he looked at you, you little witch, not at me at all.”
“You are welcome to him, Morri—I don’t care for Englishmen. Good-night, pet,” and Mrs. Howard kissed her friend, and going in to her room, she shut the door.
More than a week went by, and it seemed quite natural now to Lord Fordyce to shape his days according to the plans of the American party, and when they met at the Schlossbrunn in the morning at half-past seven, and he and Mr. Cloudwater and the Princess had drunk their tumblers of water together, their custom was to go on down to the town and there find Sabine, who had bought their slices of ham and their rolls, and awaited them at the end of the Alte Weise with the pink paper bags, and then the four proceeded to walk to the Kaiser Park to breakfast.
This meal was so merry, Mrs. Howard tantalizing the others by having cream in her coffee and sugar upon her wild strawberries, while they were only permitted to take theirs plain.