thing of him," she said to herself, "if I could get certain notions out of his head." For he, in his vainglory, had spoken lightly of "The Present Age;" had laughed at the idea of being its editor; had announced his intention of sticking to his novel—an incomprehensible manuscript which Cynthia could not understand, and which he did not seem able to explain.
That evening she went into the garden as usual, and as usual found Provence in the arbour. He always came after dinner, at the Rector's kind invitation, to run through a little music. He looked very pale and very determined. Cynthia was more than ever convinced that he was quite the most interesting of all her lovers—and she had had a number.
"You look like Prometheus defying the Furies —you remember in Shelley!" she said, as she came up to him. "Are you angry—with me?"
"I have come to say good-bye—to you all," he said abruptly; "l am going to London to-night."
"To-night ? " said Cynthia, "to-night? Have you heard any bad news? How rude I am—but it is so sudden." She seemed, and was in reality, dismayed and disappointed. Was this the climax? This, the supreme situation of the third act ? Would there be no one but that dull Edward Cargill for the remainder of the summer? No wonder her heart sank.
"It is necessary for me to go," said Provence; "I have stayed too long already." Some faint inkling of his meaning dawned upon her, and her spirits brightened.
"It must be very dull for you," she said, with a melancholy little sigh, "very, very dull." This was more than he could bear.