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Von Behrling Is Tempted
The night was dark but fine, and the crossing smooth. Louise, wrapped in furs,
abandoned her private cabin directly they had left the harbor, and had a chair placed on
the upper deck. Von Behrling found her there, but not before they were nearly half-way
across. She beckoned him to her side. Her eyes glowed at him through the darkness.
"You are not looking after me, my friend," she declared. "By myself I had to find this
Von Behrling was ruffled. He was also humbly apologetic.
"It is those idiots who are with me," he said. "All the time they worry."
She laughed and drew him down so that she could whisper in his ear.
"I know what it is," she said. "You have secrets which you are taking to London, and they
are afraid of me because I am a Servian. Tell me, is it not so? Perhaps, even, they think
that I am a spy."
Von Behrling hesitated. She drew him closer towards her.
"Sit down on the deck," she continued, "and lean against the rail. You are too big to talk
to up there. So! Now you can come underneath my rug. Tell me, are they afraid of me,
your friends?"
"Is it without reason?" he asked. "Would not any one be afraid of you - if, indeed, they
believed that you wished to know our secrets? I wonder if there is a man alive whom you
could not turn round your little finger."
She laughed at him softly.
"Ah, no!" she said. "Men are not like that, nowadays. They talk and they talk, but it is not
much they would do for a woman's sake."
"You believe that?" he asked, in a low tone.
"I do, indeed. One reads love-stories - no, I do not mean romances, but memoirs -
memoirs of the French and Austrian Courts - memoirs, even, written by Englishmen.
Men were different a generation ago. Honor was dear to them then, honor and position
and wealth, and yet there were many, very many then who were willing to give all these
things for the love of a woman.
"And do you think there are none now?" he whispered hoarsely.
"My friend," she answered, looking down at him, "I think that there are very few."