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- The Trespasser, Volume 2. - 12/12 -


uncle added presently, "But you will have supper with me just the same?"

Gaston consented, and at this point the ladies appeared. He had a thrill of pleasure at hearing their praises, but, somehow, of all the fresh experiences he had had in England, this, the weightiest, left him least elated. He had now had it all: the reaction was begun, and he knew it.

"Well, Ian Belward, what mischief are you at now?" said Mrs. Gasgoyne.

"A picture merely, and to offer homage. How have you tamed our lion, and how sweetly does he roar! I feed him at my Club to-night."

"Ian Belward, you are never so wicked as when you ought most to be decent.--I wish I knew your place in this picture," she added brusquely.

"Merely a little corner at their fireside." He nodded towards Delia and Gaston.

"The man has sense, and Delia is my daughter!"

"Precisely why I wish a place in their affections."

"Why don't you marry one of the women you have--spoiled, and spend the rest of your time in living yourself down? You are getting old."

"For their own sakes, I don't. Put that to my credit. I'll have but one mistress only as the sand gets low. I've been true to her."

"You, true to anything!"

"The world has said so."

"Nonsense! You couldn't be."

"Visit my new picture in three months--my biggest thing. You will say my mistress fares well at my hands."

"Mere talk. I have seen your mistress, and before every picture I have thought of those women! A thing cannot be good at your price: so don't talk that sentimental stuff to me."

"Be original; you said that to me thirty years ago."

"I remember perfectly: that did not require much sense."

"No; you tossed it off, as it were. Yet I'd have made you a good husband. You are the most interesting woman I've ever met."

"The compliment is not remarkable. Now, Ian Belward, don't try to say clever things. And remember that I will have no mischief-making."

"At thy command--"

"Oh, cease acting, and take Sophie to her carriage." Two hours later, Delia Gasgoyne sat in her bedroom wondering at Gaston's abstraction during the drive home. Yet she had a proud elation at his success, and a happy tear came to her eye.

Meanwhile Gaston was supping with his uncle. Ian was in excellent spirits: brilliant, caustic, genial, suggestive. After a little while Gaston rose to the temper of his host. Already the scene in the Commons was fading from him, and when Ian proposed Paris immediately, he did not demur. The season was nearly over,

Ian said; very well, why remain? His attendance at the House? Well, it would soon be up for the session. Besides, the most effective thing he could do was to disappear for the time. Be unexpected--that was the key to notoriety. Delia Gasgoyne? Well, as Gaston had said, they were to meet in the Mediterranean in September; meanwhile a brief separation would be good for both. Last of all--he did not wish to press it--but there was a promise!

Gaston answered quietly, at last: "I will redeem the promise."

"When?"

"Within thirty-six hours."

"That is, you will be at my studio in Paris within thirty-six hours from now?"

"That is it."

"Good! I shall start at eight to-morrow morning. You will bring your horse, Cadet?"

"Yes, and Brillon."

"He isn't necessary." Ian's brow clouded slightly.

"Absolutely necessary."

"A fantastic little beggar. You can get a better valet in France. Why have one at all?"

"I shall not decline from Brillon on a Parisian valet. Besides, he comes as my camarade."

"Goth! Goth! My friend the valet! Cadet, you're a wonderful fellow, but you'll never fit in quite."

"I don't wish to fit in; things must fit me." Ian smiled to himself.

"He has tasted it all--it's not quite satisfying--revolution next! What a smash-up there'll be! The romantic, the barbaric overlaps. Well, I shall get my picture out of it, and the estate too."

Gaston toyed with his wine-glass, and was deep in thought. Strange to say, he was seeing two pictures. The tomb of Sir Gaston in the little church at Ridley: A gipsy's van on the crest of a common, and a girl standing in the doorway.

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Down in her heart, loves to be mastered I don't wish to fit in; things must fit me Imagination is at the root of much that passes for love Live and let live is doing good


The Trespasser, Volume 2. - 12/12

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