“Hello!” he said. “I caught your horses for you.”
“Jove! That’s lucky!” Kirk greeted the husband’s arrival with genuine relief. “They bolted when we got down to take a drink, and we were getting ready for a long walk. Thanks, awfully.”
“No trouble at all. I saw them as they came out on the main road.” Cortlandt’s pigskin saddle creaked as he bent forward to deliver the reins. He was as cool and immaculate as ever. He met Edith’s eyes without the slightest expression. “Nice afternoon for a ride.”
“If I had known you were riding to-day you might have come with us,” she said.
He smiled in his wintry fashion, then scanned the surroundings appreciatively.
“Pretty spot, isn’t it? If you are going back, I’ll ride with you.”
“Good enough. May I give you a hand, Mrs. Cortlandt?” Kirk helped Edith to her seat, at which her husband bowed his thanks. Then the three set out in single file.
“Which way?” inquired Stephen as they reached the highroad.
“Back to town, I think,” Edith told him, “And you?”
“I’m not ready yet. See you later.” He raised his hat and cantered easily away, while the other two turned their horses’ heads toward the city.
THE REST OF THE FAMILY
The time for Senor Garavel’s return having arrived, Kirk called at the bank, and found not the least difficulty in gaining an audience. Indeed, as soon as he had reminded the banker of their former meeting, he was treated with a degree of cordiality that surpassed his expectations.
“I remember quite well, sir,” said Garavel—“‘La Tosca.’ Since you are a friend of Mrs. Cortlandt I shall be delighted to serve you.”
Now that they were face to face, Kirk felt that he distinctly approved of Chiquita’s father. This dignified, distinguished-looking gentleman awaited his pleasure with an air of leisurely courtesy that would have made him under other circumstances very easy of approach. But there was a keenness in his dark eyes that suggested the futility of beating round the bush. Kirk felt suddenly a little awkward.
“I have something very particular to say to you,” he began, diffidently, “but I don’t know just how to get at it.”
Garavel smiled graciously. “I am a business man.”
“This isn’t business,” blurted Kirk; “it’s much more important. I want to have it over as quickly as possible, so I’ll be frank. I have met your daughter, Mr. Garavel”—the banker’s eyes widened in a look of disconcerting intensity—“and I am in love with her— sort of a shock, isn’t it? It was to me. I’d like to tell you who I am and anything else you may wish to know.”
“My dear sir, you surprise me—if you are really serious. Why, you have seen her but once—a moment, at the theatre!”
“I met her before that night, out at your country place. I had been hunting, and on my way home through the woods I stumbled upon your swimming-pool. She directed me to the road.”