“If it is really always to be like this,” he said, thickly, “it would not matter if we were here for ever.”
“You tried to kill yourself four times for me,” she said, unsteadily, “and I have been chained up as a madwoman for you. I really think that after that——”
“Yes, I know,” said Evan in a low voice, looking down. “After that we belong to each other. We are sort of sold to each other—until the stars fall.” Then he looked up suddenly, and said: “By the way, what is your name?”
“My name is Beatrice Drake,” she replied with complete gravity. “You can see it on my certificate of lunacy.”
XIX. THE LAST PARLEY
Turnbull walked away, wildly trying to explain to himself the presence of two personal acquaintances so different as Vane and the girl. As he skirted a low hedge of laurel, an enormously tall young man leapt over it, stood in front of him, and almost fell on his neck as if seeking to embrace him.
“Don’t you know me?” almost sobbed the young man, who was in the highest spirits. “Ain’t I written on your heart, old boy? I say, what did you do with my yacht?”
“Take your arms off my neck,” said Turnbull, irritably. “Are you mad?”
The young man sat down on the gravel path and went into ecstasies of laughter. “No, that’s just the fun of it—I’m not mad,” he replied. “They’ve shut me up in this place, and I’m not mad.” And he went off again into mirth as innocent as wedding-bells.
Turnbull, whose powers of surprise were exhausted, rolled his round grey eyes and said, “Mr. Wilkinson, I think,” because he could not think of anything else to say.
The tall man sitting on the gravel bowed with urbanity, and said: “Quite at your service. Not to be confused with the Wilkinsons of Cumberland; and as I say, old boy, what have you done with my yacht? You see, they’ve locked me up here—in this garden—and a yacht would be a sort of occupation for an unmarried man.”
“I am really horribly sorry,” began Turnbull, in the last stage of bated bewilderment and exasperation, “but really——”
“Oh, I can see you can’t have it on you at the moment,” said Mr. Wilkinson with much intellectual magnanimity.
“Well, the fact is——” began Turnbull again, and then the phrase was frozen on his mouth, for round the corner came the goatlike face and gleaming eye-glasses of Dr. Quayle.