The Princess rose and put out her hand.
“It is settled, then,” she declared. “Thank you, dear Mr. Host, for your very delightful dinner. Jeanne and I have to go on to Harlingham House for an hour or two, the last of these terrible entertainments, I am glad to say. Do send me a note round in the morning, with the exact name of your house, and some idea of the road we must follow, so that we do not get lost. I suppose you two,” she added, turning to Forrest and Lord Ronald, “will not mind starting a day or two before we had planned?”
“Not in the least,” they assured her.
“And Miss Le Mesurier?” Cecil de la Borne asked. “Will she really not mind giving up some of these wonderful entertainments?”
Jeanne smiled upon him brilliantly. It was a smile which came so seldom, and which, when it did come, transformed her face so utterly, that she seemed like a different person.
“I shall be very glad, indeed,” she said, “to leave London. I am looking forward so much to seeing what the English country is like.”
“It will make me very happy,” Cecil de la Borne said, bowing over her hand, “to try and show you.”
Her eyes seemed to pass through him, to look out of the crowded room, as though indeed they had found their way into some corner of the world where the things which make life lie. It was a lapse from which she recovered almost immediately, but when she looked at him, and with a little farewell nod withdrew her hand, the transforming gleam had passed away.
“And there is the sea, too,” she remarked, looking backwards as they passed out. “I am longing to see that again.”
Perhaps there was never a moment in the lives of these two men when their utter and radical dissimilarity, physically as well as in the larger ways, was more strikingly and absolutely manifest. Like a great sea animal, huge, black-bearded, bronzed, magnificent, but uncouth, Andrew de la Borne, in the oilskins and overalls of a village fisherman, stood in the great bare hall in front of the open fireplace, reckless of his drippings, at first only mildly amused by the half cynical, half angry survey of the very elegant young man who had just descended the splendid oak staircase, with its finely carved balustrade, black and worm-eaten, Cecil de la Borne stared at his brother with the angry disgust of one whose sense of all that is holiest stands outraged. Slim, of graceful though somewhat undersized figure, he was conscious of having attained perfection in matters which he reckoned of no small importance. His grey tweed suit fitted him like a glove, his tie was a perfect blend between the colour of his eyes and his clothes, his shoes were of immaculate shape and polish, his socks had been selected with care in the Rue de la Paix. His hair was brushed until it shone with the proper amount of polish, his nails were perfectly