Page:Out of due time, Ward, 1906.djvu/39

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colder. I felt as if I had got out of school or out of church when we left the dining-room and found ourselves on the terrace.

"We follow the English custom and leave the men to themselves," Mademoiselle d'Etranges explained. "I find it barbaric, but it suits Paul. I suppose that wine leaves people open to influence."

I shivered slightly at this allusion to the mysterious Count.

"And you know Mr. George Sutcliffe?"

"Only a little," I said quickly. I wanted to do away with the impression of that blush. "I met him at my first party."

"Tiens! and you made great friends?"

"No," I said, "it wasn't that; but I was unhappy at my first party and I ran away."

"Ran away," cried Marcelle, "because you were not happy; how amusing! Comme c'est gentil de dire cela! and where did you run?"

"Why, I ran home," I said, opening astonished eyes at her.

She laughed heartily, and the unfriendliness I had felt before somehow suddenly vanished. "And Mr. Sutcliffe, did he run too?"

I sat down on a stone seat against the wall and laughed helplessly. "I don't believe that he even knew I ran away."

"Oh, that's dull; you might at least have told him. But then, why did you blush when you met him to-night?"

"Only because I wondered if he knew how I had behaved then." I feared she would detect that I was not speaking the truth, for in reality I could not explain to myself that idiotic blush.

"And you have been a great deal in the world since then?" she asked.

"Oh, no," I said; "I have never been in the world since."