“I will, don’t worry,” said Aubrey grimly. He knew now that he had put himself hopelessly in the wrong in Titania’s mind, but he refused to abate his own convictions. With sinking heart he saw her face relieved against the shelves of faded bindings. Her eyes shone with a deep and sultry blue, her chin quivered with anger.
“Look here,” she said furiously. “Either you or I must leave this place. If you intend to stay, please call me a taxi.”
Aubrey was as angry as she was.
“I’m going,” he said. “But you’ve got to play fair with me. I tell you on my oath, these two men, Mifflin and Weintraub, are framing something up. I’m going to get the goods on them and show you. But you mustn’t put them wise that I’m on their track. If you do, of course, they’ll call it off. I don’t care what you think of me. You’ve got to promise me that.”
“I won’t promise you anything,” she said, “except never to speak to you again. I never saw a man like you before—and I’ve seen a good many.”
“I won’t leave here until you promise me not to warn them,” he retorted. “What I told you, I said in confidence. They’ve already found out where I’m lodging. Do you think this is a joke? They’ve tried to put me out of the way twice. If you breathe a word of this to Mifflin he’ll warn the other two.”
“You’re afraid to have Mr. Mifflin know you broke into his shop,” she taunted.
“You can think what you like.”
“I won’t promise you anything!” she burst out. Then her face altered. The defiant little line of her mouth bent and her strength seemed to run out at each end of that pathetic curve. “Yes, I will,” she said. “I suppose that’s fair. I couldn’t tell Mr. Mifflin, anyway. I’d be ashamed to tell him how you frightened me. I think you’re hateful. I came over here thinking I was going to have such a good time, and you’ve spoilt it all!”
For one terrible moment he thought she was going to cry. But he remembered having seen heroines cry in the movies, and knew it was only done when there was a table and chair handy.
“Miss Chapman,” he said, “I’m as sorry as a man can be. But I swear I did what I did in all honesty. If I’m wrong in this, you need never speak to me again. If I’m wrong, you—you can tell your father to take his advertising away from the Grey-Matter Company. I can’t say more than that.”
And, to do him justice, he couldn’t. It was the supreme sacrifice.
She let him out of the front door without another word.