176 MOLLY BAWN.
' Would not that have been desirable 1 Is it not a good
thing for a man to faU in love with the woman he is going
to marry ?'
' Not imless the woman faUs in love with him,' With a
little expressive nod that speaks volumes,
' Ah! true,' says Sir Penthony, rather nettled,
' However, you showed no vulgar curiosity on the occa¬
sion, although I think Mr. Lowry, who supported you at
the last moment, suggested the advisabiUty of seeing your
bride. Ah, that reminds me he lives near here. You
wiU be glad to renew acquaintance with so particular a
' There was nothing particular about our friendship. I
met him by chance in London at the time, and—er—^he did
as weU as any other fellow,'
' Better, I should say. He is a particular friend of
' Indeed ! I shouldn't have thought him your style.
Like Cassius, he used to have a " lean and hungry look."'
' Used he ? I think him quite good-looking.'
' He must have developed, then, in body as in inteUect.
Three years ago he was a very gaunt youth indeed.'
' Of course, Stafford,' breaks in Mr, Amherst's rasping
voice, ' we can all make allowances for your joy on seeing
your wife again after such a long absence. But you must
not monopolise her. Remember she is the life of our
' Thank you, Mr. Amherst. What a delightful compli¬
ment !' says CecU with considerable empressement. ' Sir
Penthony was just telling me what an enjoyable voyage he
had ; and I was congratulating him. There is nothing on
earth so depressing or so humiliating as sea-sickness. Don't
you agree with me ?'
Mr. Amherst mutters something in which the word
'brazen' is distinctly heard; while CecU turning to her
companion, says hastily, holding out her hand, with a soft
' We are friends ?'
' For ever, I trust,' he repHes, taking the Kttle plump
white hand within his own, and giving it a hearty squeeze.
To some the evening is a long one—to LuttreU and MoUy,