“Good evening, Mr. Crawford. I ran in on a little business for Mr. Winston. Ah, Miss Argyl! So glad to see you.”
His little hand, which had been swallowed up in one of Mr. Crawford’s, and which emerged rosy and crumpled, was proffered gallantly to the girl. And then Hapgood saw Conniston.
“Oh, I say,” he stammered, a very trifle confused. “It’s Conniston. I didn’t know—”
His pale eyes, under nicely arched brows, went from father to daughter as though Roger Hapgood were willing to admit that anything which they thought fit to do was all very right and proper, but that he was none the less surprised to find them entertaining one of the hired men.
“Yes, I’m still with the Half Moon,” Conniston said, still nettled, but more amused, making no move to rise or put out his hand. “How are you, Roger?”
“How do, Conniston?” replied Mr. Hapgood, the rising young lawyer. Conniston idly wondered what had made his friend go to work. On the surface the reason seemed to be Argyl. Yet Hapgood showed a new side, a determination most unusual in him. Later Conniston was to know, to understand.
“And you like it?”
“Immensely. You ought to try it, Roger!”
Hapgood shuddered. “Couldn’t think of it. A lark, no doubt, but I haven’t the time for larks nowadays. I’m in the law.” He turned to Mr. Crawford. “Thanks to you. Fascinating, and all that, but it does keep a man busy. I hated to disturb you to-night,” with an apologetic smile at Argyl, “but Mr. Winston thought that the matter ought to be brought up before you immediately.”
He was bursting with importance, some of which seemed to have popped out of his inflated little being and now protruded from an inside pocket in the form of some very legal-looking papers.
Mr. Crawford, upon his feet, said bluntly: “If we’ve got business, Hapgood, we’d better be at it. Let’s go into the office. Argyl, you will excuse us? And you, Mr. Conniston?”
He went out. Hapgood tarried a moment for a lingering look at Argyl. “You will excuse us, Miss Argyl? I’ll hurry through with this as fast as I can.”
“I say, Roger,” Conniston called after him, “I want to congratulate you. I’m immensely glad that you have gone to work.” He turned to the girl who was watching them with thoughtful eyes. “Miss Crawford, what do you say to a little stroll out on the front lawn while these men of business transact their weighty affairs? It’s the most wonderful night you ever saw.”