So still the night was. No moon as yet, but an innumerable blaze of stars set like diamonds in the dark blue sky. A smoky yellowish haze hung over the city, but down in the garden amid the flowers all was cool and fragrant. The house was quite dark, and a tall mulberry tree on one side of it was black against the clear sky. Suddenly the door opened, and a figure came out and closed the door softly after it. Down the path it came, and standing in the middle of the garden, raised a white tear-stained face to the dark sky. A dog barked in the distance, and then a fresh cold breeze came sweeping through the trees and stirring the still perfumes of the flowers. The figure threw its hands out towards the house with a gesture of despair, then gliding down the path it went out of the gate and stole quietly down the lonely street.
M. VANDELOUP HEARS SOMETHING TO HIS ADVANTAGE
As he drove rapidly into town Gaston’s thoughts were anything but pleasant. Not that he was thinking about Kitty, for he regarded the scene he had with her as merely an outburst of hysterical passion, and did not dream she would take any serious step. He forgot all about her when he left the house, and, lying back in the cab smoking one of his everlasting cigarettes, pondered about his position. The fact was he was very hard up for money, and did not know where to turn for more. His luck at cards was so great that even the Bachelors, used as they were to losing large sums, began to murmur among themselves that M. Vandeloup was too clever, and as that young gentleman by no means desired to lose his popularity he stopped playing cards altogether, and so effectually silenced everyone. So this mode of making money was gone, and until Madame Midas arrived in town Vandeloup did not see how he was going to keep on living in his former style. But as he never denied himself anything while he had the money, he ordered the cabman to drive to Paton’s, the florist in Swanston Street, and there purchased a dainty bunch of flowers for his button hole. From thence he drove to his club, and there found a number of young fellows, including Mr Barty Jarper, all going to the Princess Theatre to see ‘The Mikado’. Barty rushed forward when Vandeloup appeared and noisily insisted he should come with them. The men had been dining, and were exhilarated with wine, so Vandeloup, not caring to appear at the theatre with such a noisy lot, excused himself. Barty and his friends, therefore, went off by themselves, and left Vandeloup alone. He picked up the evening paper and glanced over it with a yawn, when a name caught his eye which he had frequently noticed before.