- CHF 0.50
Beschreibung des Verlags
THE UNFORGIVING OFFENDER
MONTAGUE PENDLETON AND SOME OTHERS
The grill-room of the Otranto Country Club was filled with the usual Saturday afternoon throng—the card players, the tennis players, the golf players, and those who chose to do nothing.
Around a large circular table in the centre of the room were gathered a crowd of the younger members, who had sufficient youth in them to ignore rheumatism and neuralgia and the other penalties bred by damp flannels and wet shoes. They had come in from court or course, and not stopping for a bath and a rub and fresh garments had plunked themselves down in vacant chairs, and joined in throwing once around for the drinks. In an hour or so they would get the belated hot shower and the change of clothes, and be none the worse for the delay. Happy youth!
A little way off, around another table similar in size, were those who dressed first and drank afterward. They were not so noisy—their spirits did not bubble forth. Other tables were scattered through the room for such as wished a quiet chat with a friend or two—or a game of cards; though there were not many who could play amid such confusion.
The ninth and eighteenth holes were directly in view from the south windows and a foursome was on the former green. A caddy came scurrying across toward the Club-house; a moment later one of the servants hurried out with a pitcher of water. He poured four glasses and offered them to the players. The last to be handed the tray was a tall, heavy, elderly man with a jowly face and coarse features.
"If you've all got as much as you want," he said, "I'll take the rest," and ignoring the glass he grasped the pitcher, and burying his beefy nose in its depth, drained it of the last drop.
"A-h!" he ended, wiping his expansive mouth with the back of his hand. "I have never got over my boyhood liking to drink out of the pitcher. It tastes different. Don't you think so?"
"Why not have a pitcher served at your table instead of a glass, Emerson?" one of the players asked.
"I'd like to but mother won't let me!" Emerson laughed. "She says it's not au fait, or savoir faire, or on dit, or something or other."
"It's not 'deshabille,' you mean?" some one suggested.
"Damn if I know what it is, but you understand!" Emerson laughed again. "My wife is a climber and she lugs me up with her, but I'm a powerful drag at times, I fear—especially in manners. However, I tell her that I put up the money and she and Marcia can supply the rest what's necessary."
They went down to the locker rooms, nodding to three men in the grill-room window as they passed.
"Poor old Emerson," said Pendleton, looking after them. "He is all right at heart but such a blundering bounder. Among the men he can get along, but the women are a bit trying to him, I fancy."
"The Emersons must have climbed over the bars while I was away—how did they arrange it?" asked Sheldon Burgoyne, who had been abroad for the last three years.
"Easy. They have a very good looking daughter who went to Dobbs Ferry—she got to know the nice girls there and made good with them. Her mother has the social bee and is a schemer. Emerson has the requisite collateral and—attention to this part, please—he owned a bit of ground which the Country Club simply had to have, and he consented to sell it—if, and when, we would elect him to membership. Naturally, we elected."
"I see," mused Burgoyne, watching his cigarette smoke float lazily out the window.
"What do you see?" Devereux smiled.
"The usual thing. Father is impossible, but a good sort—mother is a pusher and, I dare say, fat—yes?—and daughter is not only a beauty but also something of a winner. Is she captured yet?"
"Not officially!" Pendleton answered; "but I understand that she is not without suitors," with a bit of a smile.
"With papa having the stuff! I reckon not, Malvolio," returned Burgoyne. "Give a woman
money, and looks and some slight social position, and you can trust her for the rest—even if the boys are backward, which in this instance isn't likely."
"The Emersons are not the only 'new' ones the Club has admitted recently," Pendleton remarked.
"Not by several dozen, my friend!" exclaimed Devereux. "In ten years society will have passed from the control of those who are to those who weren't."
"Progress!" said Burgoyne. "The march of improvement for the bettering of the species. New blood—new blood!"
"Just so! Aristocracy of dollars is replacing aristocracy of birth," Pendleton commented. "It's the way of the world, since time began—money is the basis of our social structure, on it we stand, without it we fall."
"Doesn't culture count at all?" Devereux asked.
"Culture isn't considered in the first instance," Pendleton replied. "It's an asset but it isn't in the least essential. Riches with culture are desirable, but riches alone are sufficient. Culture is decreasing as riches increase."
"Just a trifle iconoclastic!" laughed Burgoyne. "You always were an idol breaker, Pendleton."
"Is this proof of it?" Pendleton asked, indicating those in the grill-room.
"Hum!—I reckon not," Burgoyne confessed, letting his eyes run over the crowd.
"Here are sixty or seventy of our best people, and how many belonged two generations ago—or
even one generation? You and Devereux and I, and a half dozen others perhaps. The rest were nobodies. Yet to-day they outnumber us ten to one.—They have bought their way into the old clubs—their children have bought their way into the exclusive dancing classes, their wives have bought their way through the fashionable charities into the fashionable cotillons. Money—money—money! Everything is money and money is everything. The golden key unlocks all doors."
"The old order changeth, giving place"—began Burgoyne.
"Sentimentalize, that's right!" Pendleton exclaimed. "It's about all that's left to us to do—except to go along with the bunch, and keep our hands in our pockets to keep theirs out."
"Aren't the new ones even honest?" Burgoyne asked.
"They haven't shown it as yet."
"Do you think our ancestors were any different?"
"Possibly not—but they are dead and we are entirely respectable!" smiled Pendleton. "Moreover it required a century for them to pry open the doors—and culture was acquired while they were prying. Now—the doors are jimmied open while you wait."
"I thought you said they opened them with a golden key," Burgoyne remarked.
"They pry them open with the gold key, Sir Captious—is that plain to you?"
"It's the survival of the fittest," suggested Devereux.
"On the basis of the dollar mark—yes."
"Which we have agreed is the universal basis now-a-days," said Burgoyne. "Tell me, who is the young woman who has just driven up in the cart?"
Pendleton glanced out in time to see a tall girl in a blue gown and a picture hat toss the reins of the dancing bay to a groom and spring lightly from her high perch.
"That is Miss Emerson," he answered. "Does the world-wanderer approve of her style?"
"Pretty fit!" was the reply. "Especially fit with such a father. Is it the mother?"
"No—it's not the mother," said Pendleton decidedly; "and we can't go back any further. I'll present you if you wish."
"She is very good looking," Burgoyne reflected.
"If you go upstairs you'll likely see plenty more with the same opinion," Devereux remarked. "She is the most popular girl in the Club, if attentions count and the number of the attentioners." He pushed back his chair. "I think I'll go up myself—come along?"
"Not now, thank you," Burgoyne declined. "I shall sit here with Pendleton and be put wise to the changes that have occurred in my absence."
"You'll keep him busy—as changers we're in the chameleon class. So long!" and with a nod he went upstairs.
"He hasn't changed!" Burgoyne laughed.
"No—Dev is the same innocent fusser he always was—coming down every year to the debutantes, as blithesome as a boy and as harmless. It's an avocation with him—when business hours are over. And it's astonishing how well he does both."
"Who is he fussing now—in particular?"
"Miss Emerson—he has been fussing her for two years—and she plays him well."
"Seriously, you think?"
"No one takes Devereux's attentions seriously—not even himself."
"Two years is a long time with our friend. He used to last a year at the most, then flit away to another bud. I didn't see her close but she looks at least fifteen years younger than he."
"About that, I fancy," said Pendleton. "Moreover, one can never judge what Devereux's actions mean—except that they don't mean what they would naturally imply."
"Do you think he is actually interested in the Emerson girl?" Burgoyne inquired.
"I don't know—I question if he himself knows—only it has been, for him, most unusual and lasting."
"How's the girl?"
"You mean, what is her attitude toward Devereux?"
"No—how is she herself?"
"Pretty good sort," said Pendleton. "I don't know her well at all; I see her at the dances—at dinner—at cards—across the tennis net—on the golf course—the way one meets, you know—and she
impresses me always as distinctively likable. A square girl, I should call her."
"That is high praise from you, old man," Burgoyne remarked. "I shouldn't want higher, if I were a woman."
"Oh, piffle!" Pendleton scoffed.
"It isn't piffle, nor nonsense, nor anything of the sort," returned the other. "I knew the time when your ipse dixit went far to make or break a debutante."
"Forget it, Sheldon! Don't cast up my past sins—I'm trying to bury them."
"Are you succeeding?"
"I hope so! At least I've deluded myself with the idea until some reminding friend comes along and digs up a bunch of them and shakes the bones." He touched a bell. "Take Mr. Burgoyne's order," he said to the boy. "I'm going to drink a silver fizz—have one."
"Not on your life!" exclaimed Burgoyne. "I'm not fond of soap suds as a beverage. I prefer them with my bath."
"Every one to his taste," said Pendleton. "There goes Miss Emerson again, with Devereux et al. in tow," nodding toward the window.
"She looks like a thoroughbred," Burgoyne reflected, watching her swing across the links to the tennis courts. "It's a pity she has such a bounder for a father."
"The mother is worse; he is good natured and tries to be liked—she, however, comes pretty near being impossible."
"But she is a schemer—a manager, you say?"
"And she has managed this campaign to perfection, I admit. She must have lain awake nights for years scheming the moves. I saw it begin ten years ago—when the Emersons first appeared at a quiet summer hotel where some of our nice people went. She worked slowly, being content to make progress by degrees—to pick up a nodding and speaking acquaintance with the old families, and have her daughter get to know their daughters. Children, you know, are neither discriminating nor particular; if they like one, they don't ask for credentials. That is how Marcia Emerson got to know those who later, when she went away to school, became her friends. The campaign of ma mère has never relaxed in all those years—but it has taken many ramifications. The Club's needing the piece of ground was a fortunate accident—of the dame's foresight. She heard one day that we had bought here—the next day she had put the idea into Emerson's head to buy also. She meant to get in—and she got."
"One always admires a general!" commented Burgoyne. "At present I suppose she is engaged in stalking a prospective son-in-law?"
"Precisely—and she has him stalked; but daughter may spoil her plans—she has a mind of her own where she is intimately connected, I fancy. She has not got that black hair and dark eyes for nothing."
"Hum!" said Burgoyne, watching her with an appraising glance. "She sure is a looker—I don't blame the fellows for dancing attendance. If it were
a couple of hundred years earlier they would be rapiering one another behind the coffee-house at sunrise.... Who is the man Madame Emerson has selected for her daughter?"
"Not Warwick Devereux?"
Pendleton smiled acquiescence.
"Good Lord! Does Devereux know it?"
"I fancy not!" Pendleton laughed—"but those who are looking on with a knowing eye are wise to the mater's plan. Oh, she is a manager and a schemer all right."
"Does Miss Emerson know it?" Burgoyne asked.
"If she does she's not betraying it—though she can't be blind to Devereux's dollars nor to his worth."
"Nor to his family," the other added.
Pendleton nodded. "It will be a great stroke for Mrs. Emerson if she can marry her daughter into the Devereux-d'Este connection. Then she can rest from her labors and her works will follow her. She will have arrived."
"She is a trifle slow in coming into the dock, however," Burgoyne observed.
"Give her time—she's headed straight—has been from the start—and she has never missed a port yet. I've great faith in the old girl—she'll land Dev for the daughter, I'll bet a fiver on it. He is too old to stampede—she must drive him in slowly."
"You're mixing your metaphors!" Burgoyne laughed.
"Maybe I am—but she'll not get mixed in her
purposes. Have another drink?—No?—Then let us go up and sit on the piazza, and look at the real thing—the butterflies whose frivolities and frivoling make a country club endurable."
"Or unendurable!" his friend added.
"Depends on your point of view—and also your digestion. For my part, my digestion being normal I enjoy watching them—their methods: their little schemes, their jealousies, their punishments, their petty deceptions and meannesses—all interest me in a casual way. I like to sit back and study them—they amuse me."
"Is that all they do—amuse you?" Burgoyne asked. "Haven't they any kindness or generosity or unselfishness?"
"Not much—certainly not here at the Club. Every woman's hand is against every other woman, and she usually has a hat-pin concealed in it—if that's possible. It's trite but true that a woman is a good hater and a poor forgetter, and is utterly without conscience in matters of friendship or of truth."
"Where did you acquire all your cynicism?" Burgoyne demanded.
"With my years—and on the piazza!"
"Well, you would better find an optimistic chair and a clearer vision. You're flocking too much to yourself."
"Take the four yonder playing Auction," Pendleton continued, when they had settled into a retired corner. "They are as lovely young matrons as you will meet anywhere—far above the average indeed—and
they are inseparable; yet I myself have heard every one of them put the knife into the other three, and then give it a twist besides."
"And from it you argue——"
"From it and innumerable other instances I argue that, as among themselves, women have no conception of friendship—as men regard it. Men are more charitable;—though it is the charity of indifference—and it is without distinction as to sex. So long as he himself is not affected he cares nothing—when he is affected the woman always receives consideration."
"Exactly! the woman receives consideration from the man—and the man receives consideration from the woman. The man is in advance of her only in his indifference, and that is due mainly to temperament, and to his preoccupation in other things—he hasn't the time. The woman has the time."
"And if she hasn't time she finds it. I tell you a woman has neither charity nor justice toward a woman," Pendleton reiterated.
"You are putting it too broadly," said Burgoyne.
"As a general proposition it can't be put too broadly."
"What were you doing with yourself while I was away?" Burgoyne demanded.
"Observing life around me!"
"Through blue glasses and with a misanthrope's eyes."
"I was not aware of it."
"Of course you were not! No one ever is——
It requires a friend to make himself popular by telling you."
"What shall I tell you?" laughed Pendleton.
"Anything that's disagreeable—so long as it is the truth."
A rather large woman came down the piazza, nodding this way and that. She was beautifully gowned, in the very best taste and in the style that was calculated to soften her embonpoint into a gentle plumpness. A flush that was charmingly natural glowed on cheek and lip, her eyes were dark and delicately pencilled, her hands were bare of gloves and sparkled with rings. As she passed the corner where Pendleton and Burgoyne were sitting, she bowed effusively, and when they both arose and returned it she suddenly veered across.
"I'm so glad to see you!" she radiated.
Pendleton presented his friend.
"Welcome home, Mr. Burgoyne, if I may," she greeted. "Mr. Pendleton, won't you and Mr. Burgoyne dine with us here this evening?—just a little informal party—with some Auction later?"
Pendleton's glance shot questioningly at Burgoyne and got an answer.
"Thank you very much, Mrs. Emerson," said he. "I shall be delighted."
"It will give me much pleasure, you are very kind," Burgoyne assured her.
"Just as you are, no dressing you know—at seven-thirty on the piazza." And with a smile and an intimate little nod she went on.
"Will you please tell me why you signalled me to accept?" Pendleton inquired.
"Because I wanted you to accept."
"So I gathered—but why? why?"
"I want to see how the old dame does it—and whom she has."
"Couldn't you see quite as well without being in it?"
"Possibly—but I want to be in it.—Never refuse anything that promises enjoyment if you can accept, is my policy. I'm beginning to follow the line of least resistance—I've reached the age to justify it."
"Piffle!" said Pendleton—"you talk like a man of sixty."
"I'm thirty-four, which is quite old enough to warrant one in taking things by the smooth handle."
"Even Mrs. Emerson?"
"Even Mrs. Emerson. Moreover, I want to observe the daughter—and the table is an excellent place."
"You want to observe the daughter?" Pendleton inflected.
"Sure I do! Isn't there a campaign on to marry her to our old friend Devereux? I want to look her over—and, as I said, I don't know a better place than the table for the display of one's manners and inherent breeding—or the lack of them."
"Don't you think that Devereux is competent to judge for himself?"
"No one is competent to judge where the heart is involved; but don't think that I shall offer him advice
—Lord, no! I only want to see for my own satisfaction—and Miss Emerson is a strikingly handsome girl."
"The latter is nearer the truth, I reckon!" laughed Pendleton. "I should think you would have had a surfeit of pretty girls in three years' picking abroad."
"I never get surfeited with pretty girls. I'm like the chap in the song—'Oh, you dear delightful women, why, I simply love you all.' That's piffle, too, I suppose."
"Not at all," Pendleton observed. "I should call it a simple ebullition of spirits—otherwise plain drunk."
"No—not you—the fellow in the song. There will be a bunch more here, with similar delusions, about—eleven o'clock."
They smoked a while in silence, with a bow, now and then, to some one that passed, or a word about some one that arrived or departed. The piazza was filling up with the late comers, and with those from the grill-room. The tables were being set for dinner—rubber-shod waiters flitted about—the tinkle of glasses and the hiss of siphons punctuated the chatter of the crowd.
"How many are actually enjoying themselves?" said Pendleton with a wave of his hand to include every one on the piazza.
"Possibly half," Burgoyne answered—"the rest are bored to death."
"Half!" Pendleton laughed. "There isn't one in ten who wouldn't rather be somewhere else at this moment."
"Then there are about a hundred and fifty people who are putting up an amazingly good bluff."
"Bluff! What does that signify? Life is made up of bluff. We all are bluffers—it's a game of bluffer and bluffee—with the devil getting the one who is bluffed too often."
"You run to over-statements this afternoon!" Burgoyne remarked. "What is the matter; been pinched in the stock market—has some girl given you the mit—or are you letting some fool doctor tinker at you?"
"Which do you think it is?"
"It wouldn't be the first, and it couldn't be the second, so it must be the third.—Don't do it, Pendleton! A doctor is the most awful habit a well man can acquire—he never gets over it."
"Go to!" laughed Pendleton; "you're not in the fashion. It is the fad now-a-days to be treated by a specialist."
"A woman's fad, not a man's," said Burgoyne. "It isn't the stock-market, is it?"
"I'm not on the wrong side, if that is what you mean."
"And it couldn't by any chance be a woman?"
"It could but it isn't.—I reckon I'm just naturally cynical."
"Get over it, Pendleton, get over it—it's an awful habit for yourself and those around you! Be
cheerful, old man, be cheerful. It's just as easy and a whole heap more enjoyable. Look at me—why, I can——"
"Enjoy the prospect of dining with Mrs. Emerson! that is sufficient."
"Sufficient unto the mother is the daughter thereof. There are always compensations, if we only let ourselves see them."
"What if the daughter isn't there?" Pendleton suggested.
"That would be a calamity," Burgoyne answered. "However, we'll hope for the best."
"Are you thinking of entering the lists?"
"Go to, again! I said I'm interested for our friend!"
"To see if Miss Emerson is worthy of the distinguished honor in store for her."
"What earthly good will your 'seeing' do, if you don't tell Devereux what you think?"
"None in the world, my friend!—It's pure——"
"Curiosity," Pendleton interjected. "I thought that you had overcome your early affliction by travel."
"Which is worse—curiosity or a grouch?" laughed Burgoyne.
"Neither is worse—they both are reprehensible and to be avoided. I'll make you a proposition—I'll get rid of my cynicism, pessimism or grouch, if you will get rid of your curiosity, or interest in the affairs of others, as you term it. Is it a bargain?"
"It is!—but we'll have to go to the Emerson dinner!" Burgoyne stipulated.
Again silence. Presently Burgoyne spoke—a trifle low.
"I see Harry Lorraine is here—how does he take it?"
"You mean the loss of his wife? Like a ninny. He has backed and filled until he has lost all sympathy. One day he thinks he will, the next day he thinks he won't. Either he should have got a gun and chased Amherst to the ends of the earth and shot the life out of him, or he should instantly have filed his suit for divorce. To my mind, he has only one course open now—to take her back and let by-gones be by-gones—if she will take him."
Burgoyne glanced at the other thoughtfully. Rumor had it that Pendleton himself was very fond of Stephanie Mourraille before she married Harry Lorraine; but rumor often lied, and he had not been here to verify it himself. He knew that she was a handsome, dashing woman, somewhat self-willed and given to having her own way, but amenable to influence and altogether lovable. When he went away Lorraine was crazy about her and the courtship was at its height. A little later, while he was in Europe, he got cards to their marriage. Then suddenly, after a year and a half, a friend's letter told him, inter alia, that Stephanie Lorraine had run off with Garret Amherst—a man twice her age, and with a wife and four children—and that they were supposed to have gone to India. Four months ago he had encountered them in
Paris—at the Café Laurent in the Champs Elysées; but when he started over to speak to them, they got up hurriedly and changed their table for one in a remote corner, so he took the hint and did not recognize them.
"What in the devil possessed her?" he asked. "Amherst is not particularly attractive."
"No—at least he is not attractive to the men—but they say he is the devil among the women, in a quiet way. I reckon it was his reputation that first caught Stephanie. After that he played her and—landed her. I didn't think, however, he would completely lose his head and run away with her."
"Amherst always struck me as exceedingly cool and calculating," Burgoyne observed.—"Still, one can never tell what love will do!"
"Love!" exclaimed Pendleton. "I wouldn't dignify it by any such name. Call it what it was!"
"If you call it that then why did they run away? They could have gratified it quite as well had they remained within the bounds of the conventional."
"It was the conventional which hampered:—they wanted to be unrestrained in its enjoyment. When a man and a woman reach that state they're little better than insane."
"I never took Stephanie to be one of that sort," Burgoyne reflected.
"She wasn't—until Amherst played his usual game—and got caught in his own net. My idea of it is that she wouldn't yield until he proved his
devotion by taking her away, and finally she got him so crazy he succumbed."
"I fancy that both of them have regretted it sadly enough long since."
"I'm sure of it. I understand that Amherst has made overtures to his wife looking to a reconciliation; and as he converted almost all his property before he left, she is considering whether a half loaf, with financial ease and Amherst, isn't to be preferred to no loaf, no money, and no Amherst. She's forty, you must remember, and not particularly good looking at that. She's not likely to have another chance, if she divorces him. So I'm betting she will permit him to return—for the children's sake."
"And Stephanie?" asked Burgoyne. "There isn't any child there."
"I don't know!" said Pendleton slowly. "Normally she should be subdued and retiring—keep out of the way for a year or two. But you never can tell. Much depends on Lorraine's attitude.—If he were only half a man! but he isn't—he's a damn nincompoop."
"How could Lorraine go gunning for Amherst when he didn't know where to gun?" asked Burgoyne.
"He at least could have held his peace and shot Amherst on sight. But he didn't even do that—he sniffled, and cried, and bemoaned, and didn't know his own mind for an hour at a time. I've no patience with him."
"It seems not!" agreed Burgoyne. "But you must remember Lorraine is young, and that not every
one is blessed with your calm determination and decision. I rather think the majority of men would do as he has done—temporize."
"Temporize! maybe—but he didn't even temporize; he shilly-shallied like a weather cock."
"I see—you think that because Stephanie Lorraine had the courage to run off, and may have courage to return, she thereby has proven that she has nerve sufficient for both of them, so they would better hitch up again and go on in double harness!" laughed Burgoyne.
"That may be the truth!" said Pendleton, "but all I said was that if she will take him back he would better take her. They are about equally culpable, so they can wipe off the slate and start afresh."
"Do you really think that is possible?" Burgoyne inquired.
"Certainly it's possible!"
"Here—in this town?"
"Why not?—it is their own affair—no one has a scintilla of right to question their decision. A husband may take his wife back, surely!"
"Granted, in the abstract—but what will be Society's judgment upon the wife?"
"The men will forget it. The women will cease to remember—after a time."
"After a generation or two!" Burgoyne remarked.
"It depends on the woman herself—on how she acts," said Pendleton.
"Somewhat—but it depends more on the women and how they feel. You said, a moment ago, that
women were poor forgetters. This is one of the crimes they never forgive nor forget."
"Not exactly. They never forget the woman who has been unfortunate before marriage and has been found out. They have a slightly different code for a married woman who has gone wrong and is caught—and then rights herself. If she is prudent and has money, caste, and friends, she'll pull herself through after a year or so."
"She will be more apt to pull through if her husband sticks to her," Burgoyne replied.
"I thought that was understood!" Pendleton responded.
"And if the husband—divorces her?"
Pendleton raised his hands.
"I don't know," he reflected. "Again, however, I think that it depends on the woman and money and caste and friends. What would be impossible for some is easily possible for others."
"How would it be with Stephanie Lorraine?" Burgoyne asked.
For a while Pendleton watched the smoke circle from his cigarette and was silent. Then he dropped the cigarette into the ash tray, slowly drew out another and lit it.
"She has money and caste—and she used to have plenty of friends," Burgoyne added.
"She hasn't as many friends as she once had," said Pendleton, slowly; "though what she has are powerful. Lorraine's and Mrs. Amherst's friends will be against her—and the fact that she ran away
with such a fellow as Amherst will be more against her than anything else. If she had chosen a popular young chap, instead of a middle-aged rouè-on-the-quiet, Society would be more ready with forgiveness."
Just then Devereux rounded the corner, with a paper in his hand, and hurried over.
"Have you seen the Evening Telegraph?" he asked. "No?—Well, Amherst has come back!"
"Back—to America?" asked Burgoyne.
"Back to this town—and gone again—with Mrs. Amherst and the children—to Europe! What do you think of that?"
Burgoyne gave a soft whistle of astonishment. Pendleton shrugged his shoulders a trifle and smiled grimly.
"You're not properly appreciative of news," declared Devereux. "Why don't you say something?"
"You don't appreciate news yourself," Burgoyne answered. "We are simply dumb with amazement."
"Is that the way it impresses you?" Devereux demanded, looking at Pendleton.
"Not at all!" said Pendleton. "I'm not surprised. It is just what I expected of Amherst."
"But Mrs. Amherst—to take him back!" Devereux exclaimed.
"It is the way of expediency under all the circumstances. She was wise."
"Well, I'd be damned if I would take him back!" Devereux declared.
"I don't fancy you would, Dev!" Pendleton smiled. "You're not a woman, you know."
"Does the Telegraph say anything as to Mrs. Lorraine's whereabouts?" Burgoyne asked.
"They can't locate her but they think she is in New York," Devereux answered—and went on with his news.
Pendleton, who was facing outward, suddenly leaned forward.
"The Telegraph seems to have made a poor guess," said he. "Yonder is Mrs. Lorraine now."
"Where?" Burgoyne cried, starting around.
"In the Victoria—coming up the drive."
"God!" Burgoyne exclaimed. "What a daring thing to do! And she is alone, too."
Pendleton got up.
"I'm going to meet her—will you come along?" he asked.
"I will, indeed," said Burgoyne. "I like Stephanie—and I like her nerve."