“It does not amount to a likeness,” she answered, “and you need not look so angry. Mr. De la Borne is considered very good-looking. Dear me, what a nuisance! Do you see? We are going!”
Andrew de la Borne took the cup from her hand and helped to prepare the boat. With a faint smile upon his lips he heard a little colloquy between Cecil and the Princess which amused him. The Princess, as he prepared to hand her into the boat, showed herself at any rate possessed of the instincts of her order. She held out her hand and smiled sweetly upon Andrew.
“We are so much obliged to you for your delightful tea, Mr. Andrew,” she said. “I hope that next time my daughter goes wandering about in dangerous places you may be there to look after her.”
Andrew looked swiftly away towards Jeanne. Somehow or other the Princess’ words seemed to come to him at that moment charged with some secondary meaning. He felt instinctively that notwithstanding her thoroughly advanced airs, Jeanne was little more than a child as compared with these people. She met his eyes with one of her most delightful smiles.
“Some day, I hope,” she said, “that you will take me out in the punt again. I can assure you that I quite enjoyed being rescued.”
The little party sailed away, Cecil with an obvious air of relief. Andrew turned slowly round, and met his friend issuing from the door of the cottage.
“Andrew,” he said, “no wonder you did not care about being host to such a crowd!”
There was meaning in his tone, and Andrew looked at him thoughtfully.
“Do you know—anything definite?” he asked.
“About one of them,” he said, “I certainly do. I wonder what on earth has become of Ronald. He was with them yesterday.”
“Had enough, perhaps,” Andrew suggested.
Berners shook his head.
“I am afraid not,” he answered slowly. “I wish I could think that he had so much sense.”
Cecil came into the room abruptly, and closed the door behind him. He was breathing quickly as though he had been running. His lips were a little parted, and in his eyes shone an unmistakable expression of fear. Forrest and the Princess both looked towards him apprehensively.
“What is it, Cecil?” the latter asked quickly. “You are a fool to go about the house looking like that.”
Cecil came further into the room and threw himself into a chair.
“It is that fellow upon the island,” he said. “You remember we all said that his face was familiar. I have seen him again, and I have remembered.”
“Remembered what?” the Princess asked.
“Where it was that I saw him last,” Cecil answered. “It was in Pall Mall, and he was walking with—with Engleton. It was before I knew him, but I knew who he was. He must be a friend of Engleton’s. What do you suppose that he is doing here?”