The Tempting of Tavernake
I.17. The Balcony At Imano's
At six o'clock that evening, Tavernake rang up the Milan Court and inquired for
Elizabeth. There was a moment or two's delay and then he heard her reply. Even over the
telephone wires, even though he stood, cramped and uncomfortable, in that stuffy little
telephone booth, he felt the quick start of pleasure, the thrill of something different in life,
which came to him always at the sound of her voice, at the slightest suggestion of her
"Well, my friend, what fortune?" she asked him.
"None," he answered. "I have done my best. Beatrice will not listen to me."
"She will not come and see me?"
"She will not."
Elizabeth was silent for a moment. When she spoke again, there was a change in her tone.
"You have failed, then."
"I did everything that could be done," Tavernake insisted eagerly. "I am quite sure that
nothing anybody could say would move Beatrice. She is very decided indeed."
"I have another idea," Elizabeth remarked, after a brief pause. "She will not come to me;
very well, I must go to her. You must take me there."
"I cannot do that," Tavernake answered.
"Beatrice has refused absolutely to permit me to tell you or any one else of her
whereabouts," he declared. "Without her permission I cannot do it."
"Do you mean that?" she asked.
"Of course," he answered uncomfortably.
There was another silence. When she spoke again, her voice had changed for the second
time. Tavernake felt his heart sink as he listened.
"Very well," she said. "I thought that you were my friend, that you wished to help me."
"I do," he replied, "but you would not have me break my word?"