172 MOLLY BAWN.
is aristocratic and good-looking, without being able to lay
claim to actual beauty.
Just now he is overwhelmed with confusion, as CecU,
feeUng compelled thereto, steps forward, smUing, to reassure
' You have made a mistake—^you have lost your way,'
she says in a tone that trembles ever such a Uttle in spite of
her efforts to be calm,
' To my shame I confess it,' he says, laughing, gazing
with Ul-concealed admiration at this charming azure vision
standing before him, 'FooUshly, I forgot to ask for my
room, and ran up the stairs, feeUng certain the one that used
to be mine long ago must be so stiU. Can you forgive
'I think I can. Meantime, if you are Sir Penthony
Stafford, your room lies there,' Pointing to the last door
opening on the corridor.
' Thank you,' Yet making no haste to reach the dis¬
covered shelter. ' May I not know to whom I am indebted
for so much kindness ?'
' I daresay you wiU be introduced in proper form by-and-
by,' says Cecil demurely, making a movement as though to
leave him. ' When you are dressed you shaU be formally
' At least,' he asks hastUy, with a view to detaining her,
* do me one more service before you go. If you know me so
weU, perhaps you can tell me if any of my friends are stay¬
ing here at present ?'
' Several. Teddy Luttrell for one,'
' Indeed ! And------'
' The Darleys, You know them ?'
' Little woman—dolly—bizarre in manner and dress 1'
'A most accurate description. And there is another
friend—one who ought to be your dearest—I allude to Lady
' Lady Stafford!'
* Yes, your wife. You don't seem over and above pleased
at my news,'
'Is a man always pleased at his wife's unexpected
appearance ?' asks Sir Penthony, recovering himself, with a
rather forced laugh, ' I had no idea she was here. I------
Is she a friend of yours 1'