“We are giving you a great deal of trouble, I am afraid, Mr. De la Borne,” the Princess said stiffly. “To-morrow, as soon as my maid can pack, we will return to London.”
Andrew bowed as he turned to leave the room.
“I trust,” he said, “that you will not let my presence interfere with your plans. I shall remain on the island myself to-morrow, after I have brought your daughter back.”
Jeanne awoke the next morning to find herself between lavender scented sheets in a small iron bedstead, with a soft sea-wind blowing in through the half-open window. Her maid was ready to wait upon her, and her bath was of salt water fresh from the sea. She descended to find Andrew at work in the garden, the sun already high in the heavens, and the sea as blue and placid as though the storm of the night before were a thing long past and forgotten.
“I am never going away,” she declared, as they sat at breakfast. “I take your rooms, Monsieur Andrew. I will import as many chaperons as you please, but I will not leave this island.”
“I am afraid,” he answered smiling, “that there are other people who would have something to say about that. Your stepmother is already anxious. I have promised that you shall be back at the Hall by ten o’clock.”
The gaiety suddenly faded from her face. Her lips, which had been curved in laughter, quivered.
“You mean that?” she faltered.
“Most assuredly,” he answered. “I have no place for lodgers here. As a matter of fact, if you knew the truth, you would admit that your staying here is quite impossible.”
“Well,” she said, “I should like to know the truth. Suppose you tell it me.”
“I must confess, then,” Andrew answered, “that I am somewhat of a fraud. Berners was my friend, not my lodger, and I am Andrew de la Borne, Cecil’s elder brother.”
She looked at him for several moments steadily.
“I think that you might have told me,” was all she said.
He shrugged his shoulders.
“Why?” he asked, a little brusquely. “I am not of your world, or your stepmother’s. When Cecil told me that he had invited some of his fashionable friends down here to stay, I begged him to leave me out of it. I chose to retire here, and I preferred not to see any of you. Mine are country ways, Miss Le Mesurier. I am at heart what I pretended to be, fisherman, countryman, yokel, call me what you will. The other side of life, Cecil’s side, doesn’t appeal to me a bit. I felt that it would be more comfortable for you people and for me, if I kept out of the way.”
“You class me with them,” she remarked quietly, “a little ruthlessly. I think you forget that as yet I have not chosen my way in life.”
“That is true,” he answered, “but how can you help but choose what every one of those who call themselves your friends regards as inevitable. You must dance in many ballrooms, and make your bow before the great ones of the earth. It is a part of the penalty that you must pay for your name and riches. All that I can wish you is that you lose as little of yourself as possible in the days that lie before you.”