The Malefactor HTML version
I.14. The Moth And The Candle
"Tomorrow morning," Aynesworth remarked, "we shall land."
"I shall not be sorry," he said shortly.
Aynesworth fidgeted about. He had something to say, and he found it difficult. Wingrave
gave him no encouragement. He was leaning back in his steamer chair, with his eyes
fixed upon the sky line. Notwithstanding the incessant companionship of the last six
days, Aynesworth felt that he had not progressed a single step towards establishing any
more intimate relations between his employer and himself.
"Mrs. Travers is not on deck this afternoon," he remarked a trifle awkwardly.
"Indeed!" Wingrave answered. "I hadn't noticed."
Aynesworth sat down. There was nothing to be gained by fencing.
"I wanted to talk about her, sir, if I might," he said.
Wingrave withdrew his eyes from the sea, and looked at his companion in cold surprise.
"To me?" he asked.
"Yes! I thought, the first few days, that Mrs. Travers was simply a vain little woman of
the world, perfectly capable of taking care of herself, and heartless enough to flirt all day
long, if she chose, without any risk, so far as she was concerned. I believe I made a
"This is most interesting," Wingrave said calmly, "but why talk to me about the lady? I
fancy that I know as much about her as you do."
"Very likely; but you may not have realized the same things. Mrs. Travers is a married
woman, with a husband in Boston, and two little children, of whom, I believe, she is
really very fond. She is a foolish, good-natured little woman, who thinks herself clever
because her husband has permitted her to travel a good deal, and has evidently been
rather fascinated by the latitudinarianism of continental society. She is a little afraid of
being terribly bored when she gets back to Boston, and she is very sentimental."