“Yes; the middle of September,” she said, dreamily.
“You’ll ask me to come?”
“I should have asked you, anyway.”
The two men shook hands. “Sorry I can’t stay for tea, Dorothy, but I promised Lord Saxondale I’d meet him at four o’clock.” He did a genuinely American thing as he walked up the street. He whistled a lively air.
THE WOMAN FROM PARIS
For two weeks Phil Quentin did not allow Dorothy to forget the old association, and then came the day of her departure for Paris. Mrs. Garrison was by no means reluctant to leave London,—not that she disliked the place or the people, but that one Philip Quentin had unceremoniously, even gracefully, stepped into the circle of her contentment, rudely obliterating its symmetrical, well-drawn lines.
Mr. Quentin had much to overcome if he contemplated an assault upon the icy reserve with which Dorothy Garrison’s mother regarded his genial advances. She recalled the days when her daughter and he were “silly, lovesick children,” and there was not much comfort to be derived from the knowledge that he had grown older and more attractive, and that he lost no opportunity to see the girl who once held his heart in leash. The mother was too diplomatic to express open displeasure or to offer the faintest objection to this renewal of friendship. If it were known that she opposed the visits of the handsome American, all London would wonder, speculate, and finally understand. Her disapproval could only be construed as an acknowledgment that she feared the consequences of association; it would not be long before the story would be afloat that all was not smooth in the love affairs of a certain prince, and that the fires of an old affection were burning brightly and merrily in the face of a wrathful parent’s opposition.
In secret, Dorothy herself was troubled more than she cared to admit by the reappearance of one who could not but awaken memories of other days, fondly foolish though they were. He was still the same old Phil, grown older and handsomer, and he brought with him embarrassing recollections. He was nothing more to her now than an old-time friend, and she was nothing to him. She loved Ugo Ravorelli, and, until he appeared suddenly before her in London, Philip Quentin was dead to her thoughts. And yet she felt as if she were playing with a fire that would leave its scar—not on her heart or Quentin’s, perhaps, but on that of the man she was to marry.
It required no great strength of vision to see that Ravorelli was jealous, and it was just as plain that Quentin saw and enjoyed the uneasiness he was causing. She could not know, of course, that the American had deliberately planned to play havoc with the peace and comfort of her lover, for she recognized no motive. How could she know that Giovanni Pavesi, the tenor, and Prince Ravorelli were one and the same to Philip Quentin? How could she know that the beautiful Malban was slain in Rio Janeiro, and that Philip Quentin had seen a handsome, dark-eyed youth led to and from the murderer’s dock in that far-away Brazilian city? How, then, could she understand the conflict that waged with herself as the battlefield?