Page:The Lesson of the Master, The Marriages, The Pupil, Brooksmith, The Solution, Sir Edmund Orme (New York & London, Macmillan & Co., 1892).djvu/255

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"How fast do you mean?"

"I mean that he had proposed to Veronica a few hours after I first spoke to him. He couldn't bear it a moment longer—I mean the construction of his behaviour as shabby."

"He is rather a knight!" murmured Mrs. Rushbrook.

"I1 est impayable, as Montaut says. Montaut practiced upon him without scruple. I really think it was Montaut who settled him."

"Have you told him, then, it was a trick?" my hostess demanded.

I hesitated. "No, not quite that."

"Are you afraid he'll cut your throat?"

"Not in the least. I would give him my throat if it would do any good. But he would cut it and then cut his own. I mean he'd still marry the girl."

"Perhaps he does love her," Mrs. Rushbrook suggested.

"I wish I could think it!"

She was silent a moment; then she asked: "Does he love some one else?"

"Not that I know of."

"Well then," said Mrs. Rushbrook, "the only thing for you to do, that I can see, is to take her off his hands."

"To take Veronica off?"

"That would be the only real reparation. Go to Mrs. Goldie tomorrow and tell her your little story. Say: 'I want to prevent the marriage, and I've thought of the most effective thing. If I will take her, she will let him go, won't she? Therefore consider that I will take her.'"

"I would almost do that; I have really thought of it," I answered. "But Veronica wouldn't take me."

"How do you know? It's your duty to try."