“Oh, please don’t do that!” she begged, and he saw real supplication in her eyes. “I wouldn’t give you the letter for the world, and I—I—well, don’t you see that I am embarrassed?”
“Give me the letter,” he commanded, Sternly.
“Do you wish me to hate you?” she blazed.
“Then forget that your name is on this—this detestable envelope,” she cried, tearing the missive into pieces. He looked on in wonder, chagrin, disappointment.
“By George, Dorothy, that’s downright cruel. It was intended for me—”
“You should thank me. I have only saved you the trouble of destroying it,” she said, smiling.
“I would have kept it forever,” he said, fervently.
“Here’s a small bit of the envelope which you may keep as a souvenir. See, it has your name—’Philip’—on it. You shall have that much of the letter.” He took it rather gracelessly and, deliberately opening his watch, placed it inside the case. “I’d give $10,000 to know what that letter had to say to me.”
“You can never know,” she said, defiantly, from the bottom of the steps, “for I have forgotten the contents myself.”
She laughed as she ran upstairs, but he detected confusion in the tone, and the faint flush was still on her cheek. He sat down and wondered whether the contents would have pleased or displeased him. Philosophically he resolved that as long as he was never to know he might just as well look at it from a cheerful point of view; he would be pleased.
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
It would be difficult to define the emotions that consumed Miss Garrison as she entered her mother’s boudoir. She could not conceal from herself the sensation of jubilant delight because he had come to Brussels. At the same time, even though his visit was that of a mere friend, it promised complications which she was loath to face. She went into the presence of her mother with the presentiment that the first of the series was at hand.
“What is Philip Quentin doing here, Dorothy?” demanded Mrs. Garrison. She was standing in the center of the room, and her attitude was that of one who has experienced a very unpleasant surprise. The calm, cold tone was not far from accusing; her steely eyes were hard and uncompromising. The tall daughter stood before her, one hand still clutching the bits of white paper; on her face there was the imprint of demure concern.
“I haven’t had time to ask him, mamma,” she said, lightly, “Would it be quite the proper thing to demand the reason for his presence here when it seems quite clear that he is paying us a brief morning call?”
“Do not be absurd! I mean, what is he doing in Brussels? Didn’t he say he was to return to New York last week?” There was refined belligerence in her voice. Dorothy gave a brief thought to the cool, unabashed young man below and smiled inwardly as she contemplated the reception he was to receive from this austere interrogator.