The Tempting of Tavernake
I.2. A Tete-A-Tete Supper
Tavernake caught her up in New Oxford Street and fell at once into step with her. He
wasted no time whatever upon preliminaries.
"I should be glad," he said, "if you would tell me your name."
Her first glance at him was fierce enough to have terrified a different sort of man. Upon
Tavernake it had absolutely no effect.
"You need not unless you like, of course," he went on, "but I wish to talk to you for a few
moments and I thought that it would be more convenient if I addressed you by name. I do
not remember to have heard it mentioned at Blenheim House, and Mrs. Lawrence, as you
know, does not introduce her guests."
By this time they had walked a score or so of paces together. The girl, after her first
furious glance, had taken absolutely no notice of him except to quicken her pace a little.
Tavernake remained by her side, however, showing not the slightest sense of
embarrassment or annoyance. He seemed perfectly content to wait and he had not in the
least the appearance of a man who could be easily shaken off. From a fit of furious anger
she passed suddenly and without warning to a state of half hysterical amusement.
"You are a foolish, absurd person," she declared. "Please go away. I do not wish you to
walk with me."
Tavernake remained imperturbable. She remembered suddenly his intervention on her
"If you insist upon knowing," she said, "my name at Blenheim House was Beatrice
Burnay. I am much obliged to you for what you did for me there, but that is finished. I do
not wish to have any conversation with you, and I absolutely object to your company.
Please leave me at once."
"I am sorry," he answered, "but that is not possible."
"Not possible?" she repeated, wonderingly.
He shook his head.
"You have no money, you have eaten no dinner, and I do not believe that you have any
idea where you are going," he declared, deliberately.
Her face was once more dark with anger.