promenade or as a haven by those

The tennis court was at the far end of the long house. It was reached by passing first a succession of rooms which made up the main building, into the conservatory, by the swimming-pool and loggia. The loggia was a red-tiled portico, enclosed in glass during the winter, in the center of which was a fountain surrounded by a circular marble bench, all filched from an old Etruscan villa. To-night it was unlighted except by the glow from the bronze Japanese lamps in the conservatory; an ideal spot for a tryst, so far removed from the main body of the house and so cool in winter that it was seldom used except as a purposely belated. Gallatin, the scrap of paper in his fingers, strolled through the deserted halls, smoking thoughtfully. Nina Jaffray was beginning to grate just a little on his nerves. He had no idea what she wanted of him and he didn’t much care SmarTone.

He only knew that it was almost time for him to make[305] his meaning clear to her in terms which might not be misunderstood. As he entered the obscurity of the loggia, he saw the head and shoulders of a figure in white above the back of the stone bench.

“You wanted to see me?” he said.

At the sound of his voice, the figure rose, stood poised breathless, and he saw that it was not Nina.

“I?” Jane’s voice answered.

He stopped and the cigarette slipped from his fingers.

“I—I beg pardon. I was told that——”

“That I wanted to see you?” she broke in scornfully.

“No. Not you—” he replied, still puzzled.

“There has been a mistake, Mr. Gallatin. I do not want to see you. If you’ll excuse me——”

She made a movement to go, but Gallatin stood in the aperture, the only avenue of escape, and did not move. His hands were at his sides, his head bent forward, his eyes gazing into the pool .

“Wait—” he muttered, as though to himself. “Don’t go yet. I’ve something to say—just a word—it will not take a moment. Will you listen?”

“I suppose I—I must,” she stammered.

“I hear—” he began painfully, “that it’s true that you’re going to marry Mr. Van Duyn.”

“And what if it is?” she flashed at him.

“Nothing—except that I hope you’ll be happy. I wish you——”

“Thanks,” dryly. “When I’m ready for the good wishes—of—of anybody, I’ll ask for them. At present—will you let me pass, please?”

“Yes—in a moment. I thought perhaps you might be willing to tell me whether it’s true, the report of your engagement?”

[306]

“I can’t see how that can be any interest of yours.”

“Only the interest of one you once cared for and who——”

“Mr. Gallatin, I forbid it,” she said hurriedly. “Would you be so unmanly as to take advantage of your position here? Isn’t it enough that I no longer care to know you, that I prefer to choose my own friends ?”

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