“My father left me all this money,” Jeanne said, “that I might be happy, not miserable. I am quite determined that I will not ruin my life before it has commenced. I do not wish to marry at all for several years. I think that you have brought me into what you call Society a good deal too soon. I would rather study for a little time, and try and learn what the best things are that one may get out of life. I am afraid, from your point of view, that I am going to be a failure. I do not care particularly about dances, or the people we have met at them. I think that in another few weeks I shall be as bored as the most fashionable person in London.”
A servant knocked at the door announcing Major Forrest. Jeanne rose to her feet and passed out by another door. The Princess made no attempt to stop her.
The Princess looked up with ill-concealed eagerness as Forrest entered.
“Well,” she asked, “have you any news?”
Forrest shook his head.
“None,” he answered. “I am up for the day only. Cecil will not let me stay any longer. He was here himself the day before yesterday. We take it by turns to come away.”
“And there is nothing to tell me?” the Princess asked. “No change of any sort?”
“None,” Forrest answered. “It is no good attempting to persuade ourselves that there is any.”
“What are you up for, then?” she asked.
He laughed hardly.
“I am like a diver,” he answered, “who has to come to the surface every now and then for fresh air. Life down at Salthouse is very nearly the acme of stagnation. Our only excitement day by day is the danger—and the hope.”
“Is Cecil getting braver?” the Princess asked.
“I think that he is, a little,” Forrest answered.
The Princess nodded.
“We met him at the Bellamy Smiths’,” she said. “It was quite a reunion. Andrew was there, and the Duke.”
Forrest’s face darkened.
“Meddling fool,” he muttered. “Do you know that there are two detectives now in Salthouse? They come and go and ask all manner of questions. One of them pretends that he believes Engleton was drowned, and walks always on the beach and hires boatmen to explore the creeks. The other sits in the inn and bribes the servants with drinks to talk. But don’t let’s talk about this any longer. How is Jeanne?”
“We are going,” the Princess said quietly, “to have trouble with that child.”
“Why?” Forrest asked.
“She is developing a conscience,” the Princess remarked. “Where she got it from, Heaven knows. It wasn’t from her father. I can answer for that.”
“Anything else?” Forrest asked.
“It is a curious thing,” the Princess replied, “but ever since those few days down at that tumbledown old place of Cecil de la Borne’s, she seems to have developed in a remarkable manner. I don’t know how much nonsense she talked with that fisherman of hers, but some of it, at any rate, seems to have stuck. I am sure,” she added, with a little sigh, “that we are going to have trouble.”