“You probably know England?” he hazarded politely.
“Very little. I was once there for a month when I was a child; we went to see Windermere and the Lakes.”
“You got no further north? That was a pity, our country is most beautiful—but it is not too late—you may go there yet some day.”
“Who knows?” and she laughed gaily—she had to allow herself some outlet, she felt she would otherwise have screamed.
Michael looked away out to sea and he told himself he must not tease her any more. She was astonishingly game—so astonishingly game that but for the name “Howard” he could have almost believed that this young woman was his Sabine’s double—but he remembered now that she had said she was going to call herself Mrs. Howard because otherwise she would not be able to “have any fun!”
He had never recollected it since, not even when Henry had told him the lady of his heart was called Howard—obscured by his friend’s assertion that her husband was an American, he had not for an instant suspected the least connection with himself.
Until he could find out the meaning of all this comedy, he must not let Henry have an idea that there was anything underneath; and then with a pang of mortification and pain he remembered his promise to Henry—and he clenched his hands in his coat pockets, he was indeed tied and bound.
Sabine for her part felt she could bear the situation no longer; she must be alone—so on the plea of letters to write, she dismissed them with Madame Imogen to show them to their rooms in the other part of the house which was connected to this, her two great turrets and middle immense room, by a passage which went along from the turret which contained her bedroom.
“You won’t mind, perhaps, dining at half past seven?” she said as she paused at her door, “because our good Cure, Pere Anselme is coming, and he hates to sit up late.”
And with the corner of his eye, Michael saw that before he hurried after him, Henry had bent and surreptitiously kissed his hostess’ hand—and a sudden blinding, unreasoning rage shook him as he stalked on to his allotted apartment.
Sabine decided to be a little late for dinner—three minutes, just to give the rest of the party time to be assembled in the big salon. She was coming from the communicating passage to her part of the house when Mr. Arranstoun came out of his room, and they were obliged to go down the great staircase together.
To see him suddenly in evening dress like this brought her wedding night back so vividly to her, she with difficulty kept a gasp from her breath. He was certainly the most splendidly good-looking creature, with his blue eyes and dark hair and much fairer little moustache.
“I am late!” she cried laughing, before he could speak a word. “Pere Anselme will scold me! Come along!” and she tripped forward with a glance over her shoulder.