"How beautiful she must be, and how amiable!"
"She is indeed—It's not a bit flattered."
And while Maurice still stared, more and more mystified—for "flattered, flattered!" was the unspoken solution in which he had instantly taken refuge—his neighbor continued: "I wish you could know her—you must; she's delightful. She couldn't come here to-day—they asked her; she has people lunching at home."
"I should be so glad; perhaps we may meet her somewhere," said Vera.
"If I ask her, and if you'll let her, I'm sure she'll come to see you," the young man responded. Maurice had glanced at him while the face of the portrait watched them with the oddest, the grimmest effect. He was filled with a confusion of feelings, asking himself half a dozen questions at once. Was young Tregent, with his attentive manner, "making up" to Vera? was he going out of his way in answering for his mother's civility? Little did he know what he was taking on himself! Above all, was Fanny Knocker to-day this extraordinary figure—