a hansom, and drove to Bedford Square. He sent up his card, but it came back to
him with a message scribbled across the front.
So sorry I can't see you. Will you come and dine with me Sunday evening at half-
When Bartley arrived at Bedford Square on Sunday evening, Marie, the pretty
little French girl, met him at the door and conducted him upstairs. Hilda was
writing in her living-room, under the light of a tall desk lamp. Bartley recognized
the primrose satin gown she had worn that first evening at Lady Walford's.
"I'm so pleased that you think me worth that yellow dress, you know," he said,
taking her hand and looking her over admiringly from the toes of her canary
slippers to her smoothly parted brown hair. "Yes, it's very, very pretty. Every one
at Lady Walford's was looking at it."
Hilda curtsied. "Is that why you think it pretty? I've no need for fine clothes in
Mac's play this time, so I can afford a few duddies for myself. It's owing to that
same chance, by the way, that I am able to ask you to dinner. I don't need Marie
to dress me this season, so she keeps house for me, and my little Galway girl
has gone home for a visit. I should never have asked you if Molly had been here,
for I remember you don't like English cookery."
Alexander walked about the room, looking at everything.
"I haven't had a chance yet to tell you what a jolly little place I think this is. Where
did you get those etchings? They're quite unusual, aren't they?"
"Lady Westmere sent them to me from Rome last Christmas. She is very much
interested in the American artist who did them. They are all sketches made about
the Villa d'Este, you see. He painted that group of cypresses for the Salon, and it
was bought for the Luxembourg."
Alexander walked over to the bookcases. "It's the air of the whole place here that
I like. You haven't got anything that doesn't belong. Seems to me it looks
particularly well to-night. And you have so many flowers. I like these little yellow
"Rooms always look better by lamplight --in London, at least. Though Marie is
clean --really clean, as the French are. Why do you look at the flowers so
critically? Marie got them all fresh in Covent Garden market yesterday morning."
"I'm glad," said Alexander simply. "I can't tell you how glad I am to have you so
pretty and comfortable here, and to hear every one saying such nice things about