Quentin was driving with Lady Saxondale to the home of Miss Garrison’s hostess. Phil’s fair, calculating companion said to herself that she had never seen a handsomer fellow than this stalwart American. There was about him that clean, strong, sweet look of the absolutely healthy man, the man who has buffeted the world and not been buffeted by the world. He was frank, bright, straightforward, and there was that always-to-be-feared yet ever-to-be-desired gleam of mastery in his eye. It may have been sometimes a wicked mastery, and more than one woman who admired him because she could not help herself had said, “There is a devil in his eyes.”
They found Lady Marnham’s reception hall full of guests, few of whom Quentin had seen before. He was relieved to find that the prince was not present, and he made his way to Dorothy’s side, with Lady Frances, coolly dropping into the chair which a young captain had momentarily abandoned. Lady Frances sat beside Miss Garrison on the divan.
“I am so glad you kept your promise, Phil, and came. It seems good to see you after all these years. You bring back the dear days at home,” said Dorothy, delight in her voice.
“From that I judge you sometimes long for them,” he said, simply. To Lady Frances it sounded daring.
“Often, oh, so very often. I have not been in New York for years. Lady Saxondale goes back so often that she doesn’t have the chance to grow homesick.”
“I hear you are going over this fall,” said Quentin, with a fair show of interest.
“Who—who told you so?” she asked, in some surprise. He could not detect confusion.
“Prince Ravorelli. At least, he said he expected to make the trip this fall. Am I wrong in suspecting that he is not going alone?”
“We mean to spend much of the winter in the United States, chiefly in Florida. I shall depend on you, Phil, to be nice to him in New York. You can do so much to make it pleasant for him. He has never been in New York, you know.”
“It may depend on what he will consider pleasant. I don’t believe he will enjoy all the things I like. But I’ll try. I’ll get Dickey Savage to give a dinner for him, and if he can survive that, he’s capable of having a good time anywhere. Dickey’s dinners are the real test, you know. Americans stand them because they are rugged and accustomed to danger.”
“You will find Prince Ugo rugged,” she said, flushing slightly, and he imagined he could distinguish a softness in her tone.
“I am told he is an athlete, a great horseman, a marvelous swordsman,” said Lady Frances.
“I am glad you have heard something about him that is true,” said Dorothy, a trifle quickly. “Usually they say that princes are all that is detestable and unmanly. I am sure you will like him, Phil.”
Mrs. Garrison came up at this moment with Lady Marnham, and Quentin arose to greet the former as warmly as he could under the smooth veil of hypocrisy. Again, just before Lady Frances signaled to him that it was time for them to leave, he found himself in conversation, over the teacups, with Dorothy Garrison. This time they were quite alone.