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Barletti had resolved not to be bullied
further, and had raised his head confronting
Sir John with a proud air, when he caught
a glimpse through the glass door, of a
graceful figure with long sweeping skirts,
passing slowly along the loggia. It was
yet early. They had not dined. Although
the card-table was illumined by a
lamp, the daylight was not excluded, and
the loggia with part of the garden were
distinctly visible from the interior of the room.
Veronica was pacing along with her head
bent down in a pensive attitude. As she
came opposite to the window, she raised her
head for a moment and looked in.

Sir John had his back to the window;
but Barletti could see her. She looked full
at him, and he saw, or seemed to see,
something plaintively appealing in her eyes. It
all passed so quickly that there appeared to
be scarcely any pause between Sir John's
last words and Barletti's reply, uttered
coldly, but not angrily.

"'Insist,' caro Gale, is an absurd word
to use. But if you really wish it, I have
no objection to tell you what made me ask
if you had been twice married. It is no
secret. Your name was mentioned at the
club today, and a man declared that he
had known miladi years ago, and that she
waswas not quite young now. I thought
it might have been a former wife of whom
he spoke. He said, by-the-bye, that you had
another name besides GaleSalliTalli
I forget it now."

Sir John laughed a little grating laugh.
"Well," said he, taking up his cards again
and arranging them in his hand: "I suppose
you can judge for yourself about the
correctness of your friend's information on
one point at least. Miladi would be much
obliged to him if she could know that he
said she was 'not quite young.' Ha, ha! I
suppose the fellow was trying to hoax you.
By-the-bye, I would advise you, if you
want to be in miladi's good books, not to
tell her that you have been discussing her
at the club. She's so devilish proud that
she'd never forgive you. Allons, let us
finish our game."

Barletti understood very well that he had
got no answer to his question. But he was
too glad to have avoided a quarrel with Sir
John to care about that. And he was more
glad than ever that he had commanded
himself, when Veronica entered and sat a
little behind Sir John's chair, talking little
and smiling less, but gentle, amiable, and
looking exquisitely beautiful.

All through dinner her unwonted softness
of mood continued. She had lately,
as has been hinted, displayed a good deal
of caprice and hauteur in her behaviour to
Barletti: so that her mildness was made
precious by contrast. It was the last evening
he was to spend at Villa Chiari. On the
following day Sir John had decided to start
for Naples.

"Good-bye, prince," said Veronica,
giving him her hand. It was the first time
she had ever done so; and Barletti's heart
beat suddenly faster, as he clasped her
fingers for a moment in his own.

"We shall see you in the winter?" added

"I hope I shall be able to get away. I
came here, thinking I should stay perhaps
a fortnight, on some business for Alberto"
(Alberto was his elder brother, and the
head of the family), "and these tiresome
lawyers have kept me broiling in Florence
throughout the whole summer. Pazienza!
I do not regret my detention," he added, a
little awkwardly, as he bowed once more to

Then he went away through the garden,
past the broken fountain, and out at the
wide gates. There his fiacre was awaiting
him. But he told the man to drive on slowly,
and stay for him at the foot of the hill. And
after standing for a few minutes gazing at the
old house, white in the moonlight, black in
the shadow, he absolutely walked more than
three-quarters of a mile down the hill,
under the autumn sky spangled with stars:
walked through the thick, soft dust which
speedily covered his well-varnished boots
with a drab-coloured coating. And even
when he reached the foot of the descent, he
had not yet exhausted the excitement, which
made it irksome for him to sit still in a
carriage. He paid the coachman and
dismissed him, and tramped home through the
streets on foot.

All which might have proved to a discerning
eye, that Cesare dei Principi Barletti was
feeling powerful and unwonted emotion.

              AS THE CROW FLIES.


The crow bears on from Whitby to
Harrogate, in the last century the northern
rival of Bath, and a depôt of gay invalids
and the testy fathers of old comedy.
This bare common, once part of
Knaresborough Forest, was in Elizabeth's time
stripped of most of its timber by the iron
smelters. The first chalybeate spring (the
earliest, indeed, discovered in England), was
analysed by Sir William Slingsby in 1596.