Page:Court Royal.djvu/381

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mots have been passed round the room, and those whom you stabbed will never forgive you. How did you know anything about Sir William Hawkins taking his wife’s name, and being knighted in it, because he was—well, without a name of his own? And that affair of Captain Gathercole and Miss Fanshawe, and Mrs. Duncombe—whose husband never turns up—and the rest?’

‘I know everything about people in Plymouth—it is part of the business.’

‘You will never, never be forgiven.’

‘I am not likely to meet these people again.’

‘Did you enjoy yourself?’

‘For a while—and then I did not care for the ball any more.’

‘Why not?’

She did not answer.

The cab was dismissed at the Barbican, and Charles paid the driver.

‘Joe,’ said he, ‘come on to the pier, and let us look at the water rippling in the moon. It will be dawn directly.’

She hesitated a moment, and then said, ‘Very well; I want to tell you something.’

He gave her his arm, ‘You are not likely to catch cold, I hope!’

She shook her head.

‘The more I see of you,’ said he, ‘the more I wonder at you. You are a person of infinite resource. Joe! tell me you are not cross with me for what I confided to you.’

‘Not a bit,’ she answered. ‘I told you to aim at position, and you have followed my advice.’

‘It was my father’s doing.’

‘Do you not love and admire her? You must—you must do that! Why, I do! I love her still.’

‘Of course I admire Lady Grace. Never can fail to do that. I love her also—well—in about the same fashion as a Catholic loves and adores the Virgin.’

‘Are you satisfied with what you have done?’

‘I will empty my whole heart before you,’ he said. ‘I know you are capable of advising me—of encouraging me.’ He sighed. ‘I daren’t say all I think!’

She laughed. ‘In the same breath hot and cold. You will and you won’t. You can and you can’t.’

‘Do not sneer at me. I am in a difficulty. I assure you I