The Tempting of Tavernake
I.6. Questions And Answers
Tavernake sat a few hours later at his evening meal in the tiny sitting-room of an
apartment house in Chelsea. He wore a black tie, and although he had not yet aspired to a
dinner coat, the details of his person and toilet showed signs of a new attention. Opposite
to him was Beatrice.
"Tell me," she asked, as soon as the small maid-servant who brought in their first dish
had disappeared, "what have you been doing all day? Have you been letting houses or
surveying land or book-keeping, or have you been out to Marston Rise?"
It was her customary question, this. She really took an interest in his work.
"I have been attending a rich American client," he announced, "a compatriot of your own.
I went with her to Grantham House in her own motor-car. I believe she thinks of taking
"American!" Beatrice remarked. "What was her name? "
Tavernake looked up from his plate across the little table, across the bowl of simple
flowers which was its sole decoration.
"She called herself Mrs. Wenham Garner!"
Away like a flash went the new-found peace in the girl's face. She caught at her breath,
her fingers gripped the table in front of her. Once more she was as he had known her
first--pale, with great terrified eyes shining out of a haggard face.
"She has been to you," Beatrice gasped, "for a house? You are sure?"
"I am quite sure," Tavernake declared, calmly.
"You recognized her?"
He assented gravely.
"It was the woman who stood in the chemist's shop that night, signing her name in a
book," he said.
He did not apologize in any way for the shock he had given her. He had done it
deliberately. From that very first morning, when they had breakfasted together at London
Bridge, he had felt that he deserved her confidence, and in a sense it was a grievance with
him that she had withheld it.
"Did she recognize you?"