Page:Court Royal.djvu/378

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of course, the first ball: the second was only for the tenants and servants. The room—the grand ball-room, you know it—was superb with its painted groups in panel, of the time of Louis XIV. It belonged to the older house, and was incorporated in the new mansion built by the late Duke. And the crystal lustres twinkling with rainbow-tinted light! And the drawing-room—do you know the pictures there? The Gainsborough, and the Murillo; the Sèvres vases given by Charles X.’

‘Joe!’ exclaimed Charles, ‘you will drive me mad. Are you a witch? Have you the gift of second sight? How come you to know anything about the rooms and people at Court Royal?’

‘Never mind. I will not tell you.’

‘I am cross with you for one thing, Joe. You might have been sure I would have been here to-night, and it would have been graceful to wear the Roman pearls I gave you. They were only Roman pearls, true, but the chain was pretty.’

‘I could not. I had given it away.’

‘Oh, Joe! how could you do that?’

‘I gave it to the best of women.’

‘Who can that be? I know one whom I think that.’

‘It is the same. She has it—Lady Grace Eveleigh.’

Charles Cheek stood still in the midst of the dance. ‘You gave my necklace to her!—Impossible.’

‘Ask her next time you meet. She will tell you it is true, Now tell me something. How come you to know Court Royal?’

‘That is easily answered. Mr. Worthivale, the steward, is my cousin. I have been staying with him, in exile—because of you. My father has sent me there into banishment.’

‘That is why I have not seen you in Plymouth?’

‘Yes—and—, I will confide something more to you that affects me greatly. You will hear it talked about shortly. I am going to marry Lady Grace Eveleigh.’

Joanna stood still, and stared at him. ‘Impossible!’ she said.

‘It is true—I assure you it is true.’

‘I will dance no more,’ said Joanna abruptly. ‘Take me to a chair.’

‘Remember you owe me the next waltz.’

‘I will not dance with you again.’

She remained seated during several dances; the gentlemen