For the keenness of his perceptions and his honesty of judgment made him see that they were strangely suited to one another—his darling and his friend—so strong and vital and young.
The ball was going splendidly and everyone seemed to be in wild form. Sabine had danced with an excitement in her veins which she could not control. Had there been no music or lights, she might just have felt frightfully disturbed and unhappy, but as it was she was only conscious of excitement. Lord Fordyce was above showing jealousy, and was content that she seemed to be enjoying herself, and did not appear unwilling to return to him quite frequently and walk about the room or sit down.
“You are looking so supremely bewitching, my darling,” he told her. “I feel it is selfish of me to keep you away from the gay dances, you are so young and sweet. I want you to enjoy yourself. Have you not danced with Michael Arranstoun yet? I saw you were getting on with him splendidly at dinner—he used to be a great dancer before he went off to foreign parts.”
“No, I have not spoken to him even,” she answered, with what indifference she could.
“What was he saying just before you left the dining-room which made you look so haughty, dearest? He was not impertinent to you, I hope,” and Henry frowned a little at the thought.
Sabine played with her fan—she was feeling inexpressibly mean.
“No—not in the least—we were discussing someone we had both known—long ago—she is dead now. I may have been a little annoyed at what he said. Oh! is that a Scotch reel they are going to begin?”
How glad she was of this diversion! She knew she had been capricious with Lord Fordyce once or twice during the evening. She was greatly perturbed. Oh! Why had she not had the courage to be her usual, honest self, and have told him immediately at Heronac who her husband really was. She was in a false position, ashamed of her deceit and surrounded by a net-work of acted lies; and all through everything there was a passionate longing to speak to Michael again, and to be near him once more as at dinner. She had been conscious of everything that he did—of whom he had danced with—Moravia for several times—and now she knew that he was not in the ball-room.
Nothing could exceed Henry’s gentleness and goodness to her. He watched her moods and put up with her caprices; that something unusual had disturbed her he felt, but what it could be he was unable to guess.
Sabine was aware that other women were envying her for the attention showered upon her by this much sought after man. She tried to assure herself how fortunate she was, and now got Henry to tell her once more of things about his home. It was in the fairest part of Kent, and they had often talked of the wonderful garden they would have in that fertile country sheltered from all wind, and she knew that as soon as the divorce was over, she and Moravia would go and stay there and look over it all, and meet his mother, which meeting had not yet been arranged. For some unknown reason nothing would induce her to go now.