The Malefactor HTML version

II.15. Aynesworth Plans A Love Story
Wingrave disappeared suddenly from London. Aynesworth alone knew where he was
gone, and he was pledged to secrecy. Two people received letters from him. Lady Ruth
was one of them.
"This," she remarked quietly, handing it over to her husband, "may interest you."
He adjusted his eye glasses and read it aloud:--
"Dear Lady Ruth,--I am leaving London today for several weeks. With the usual
inconsistency of the person to whom life is by no means a valuable asset, I am obeying
the orders of my physician. I regret, therefore, that I cannot have the pleasure of
entertaining your husband and yourself during Cowes week. The yacht, however, is
entirely at your disposal, and I have written Captain Masterton to that effect. Pray extend
your cruise, if you feel inclined to.--I remain, yours sincerely, W."
Mr. Barrington looked at his wife inquiringly.
"That seems to me entirely satisfactory, Ruth," he said. "I think that he might have added
a word or two of acknowledgment for what you did for him. There is no doubt that, but
for your promptness, things might have gone much worse."
"Yes," Lady Ruth said slowly, "I think that he might have added a few words."
Her husband regarded her critically.
"I am afraid, dear," he said, "that all this anxiety has knocked you up a little. You are not
looking well."
"I am tired," she answered calmly. "It has been a long season. I should like to do what
Wingrave has done--go away somewhere and rest."
Barrington laid his hand upon hers affectionately. It seemed to him that the rings hung a
little loosely upon the thin, white fingers. She was pale, too, and her eyes were weary. He
did not notice that, as soon as she could, she drew her hand away.
"'Pon my word," he said, "I wish we could go off somewhere by ourselves. But with
Wingrave's yacht to entertain on, we must do something for a few of the people. I don't
suppose he minds whom we ask, or how many."
"No!" she answered, "I do not suppose he cares."