“I guess I shall not be your ambassador, so far as that. Why don’t you tell her yourself?”
“She won’t believe me,” said Jeff, with a laugh. “She thinks I don’t know my mind. And I don’t like the way we differ when we differ. We differ more than we mean to. I don’t pretend to say I’m always right. She was right about that other picnic—the one I wanted to make for Mrs. Vostrand. I suppose,” he ended, unexpectedly, “that you hear from them, now and then?”
“No, I don’t. I haven’t heard from them for a year; not since—You knew Genevieve was married?”
“Yes, I knew that,” said Jeff, steadily.
“I don’t quite make it all out. Mr. Vostrand was very much opposed to it, Mrs. Vostrand told me; but he must have given way at last; and he must have put up the money.” Jeff looked puzzled, and Westover explained. “You know the officers in the Italian army—and all the other armies in Europe, for that matter—have to deposit a certain sum with the government before they can marry and in the case of Count Grassi, Mr. Vostrand had to furnish the money.”
Jeff said, after a moment: “Well, she couldn’t help that.”
“No, the girl wasn’t to blame. I don’t know that any one was to blame. But I’m afraid our girls wouldn’t marry many titles if their fathers didn’t put up the money.”
“Well, I don’t see why they shouldn’t spend their money that way as well as any other,” said Jeff, and this proof of his impartiality suggested to Westover that he was not only indifferent to the mercenary international marriages, which are a scandal to so many of our casuists, but had quite outlived his passion for the girl concerned in this.
“At any rate,” Jeff added, “I haven’t got anything to say against it. Mr. Westover, I’ve always wanted to say one thing to you. Then I came to your room that night, I wanted to complain of Mrs. Vostrand for not letting me know about the engagement; and I wasn’t man enough to acknowledge that what you said would account for their letting me make a fool of myself. But I believe I am now, and I want to say it.”
“I’m glad you can see it in that way,” said Westover, “and since you do, I don’t mind saying that I think Mrs. Vostrand might have been a little franker with you without being less kind. She was kind, but she wasn’t quite frank.”
“Well, it’s all over now,” said Jeff, and he rose up and brushed the whittlings from his knees. “And I guess it’s just as well.”