Page:The Lesson of the Master, The Marriages, The Pupil, Brooksmith, The Solution, Sir Edmund Orme (New York & London, Macmillan & Co., 1892).djvu/244

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also very pretty hair. What pretensions can he have? He's touching, but he's only a cotton-spinner and a blockhead. Besides, it offends an aimable Français to see three unmated virgins withering in a row. You people don't mind that sort of thing, but it violates our sense of form—of proper arrangement. Girls marry, que diable!"

"I notice they don't marry you!" I cried.

"I don't go and hide in the bushes with them. Let him arrange it—I like to see people act out their character. Don't spoil this—it will be perfect. Such a story to tell!"

"To tell? We shall blush for it for ever. Besides, we can tell it even if he does nothing."

"Not I—I shall boast of it. I shall have done a good action, I shall have assuré un sort to a portionless girl." Montaut took hold of me again, for I threatened to run after Wilmerding, and he made me walk about with him for half an hour. He took some trouble to persuade me that further interference would be an unwarranted injury to Veronica Goldie. She had apparently got a husband—I had no right to dash him from her lips.

"Getting her a husband was none of my business."

"You did it by accident, and so you can leave it."

"I had no business to try him."

"You believed he would resist."

"I don't find it so amusing as you," I said, gloomily.

"What's amusing is that he has had no equivalent," Montaut broke out.

"No equivalent?"

"He's paying for what he didn't have, I gather, eh? L'imbecile! It's a reparation without an injury."

"It's an injury without a provocation!" I answered, breaking away from him.