“Mr. Lennan, miss,” he added a softer: “May I come in?”
She put her hand into his with intense composure.
“Oh, yes, do! if you don’t mind the mess I’m making;” and, with a little squeeze of the tips of his fingers, added: “Would it bore you to see my photographs?”
And down they sat together before the photographs—snapshots of people with guns or fishing-rods, little groups of schoolgirls, kittens, Dromore and herself on horseback, and several of a young man with a broad, daring, rather good-looking face. “That’s Oliver—Oliver Dromore—Dad’s first cousin once removed. Rather nice, isn’t he? Do you like his expression?”
Lennan did not know. Not her second cousin; her father’s first cousin once removed! And again there leaped in him that unreasoning flame of indignant pity.
“And how about drawing? You haven’t come to be taught yet.”
She went almost as red as her frock.
“I thought you were only being polite. I oughtn’t to have asked. Of course, I want to awfully—only I know it’ll bore you.”
“It won’t at all.”
She looked up at that. What peculiar languorous eyes they were!
“Shall I come to-morrow, then?”
“Any day you like, between half-past twelve and one.”
He took out a card.
“Mark Lennan—yes—I like your name. I liked it the other day. It’s awfully nice!”
What was in a name that she should like him because of it? His fame as a sculptor—such as it was—could have nothing to do with that, for she would certainly not know of it. Ah! but there was a lot in a name—for children. In his childhood what fascination there had been in the words macaroon, and Spaniard, and Carinola, and Aldebaran, and Mr. McCrae. For quite a week the whole world had been Mr. McCrae—a most ordinary friend of Gordy’s.
By whatever fascination moved, she talked freely enough now—of her school; of riding and motoring—she seemed to love going very fast; about Newmarket—which was ‘perfect’; and theatres—plays of the type that Johnny Dromore might be expected to approve; these together with ‘Hamlet’ and ‘King Lear’ were all she had seen. Never was a girl so untouched by thought, or Art—yet not stupid, having, seemingly, a certain natural good taste; only, nothing, evidently, had come her way. How could it—’Johnny Dromore duce, et auspice Johnny Dromore!’ She had been taken, indeed, to the National Gallery while at school. And Lennan had a vision of eight or ten young maidens trailing round at the skirts of one old maiden, admiring Landseer’s dogs, giggling faintly at Botticelli’s angels, gaping, rustling, chattering like young birds in a shrubbery.
But with all her surroundings, this child of Johnny Dromoredom was as yet more innocent than cultured girls of the same age. If those grey, mesmeric eyes of hers followed him about, they did so frankly, unconsciously. There was no minx in her, so far.