The Man and the Moment HTML version

T HE ball was going splendidly and everyone seemed to be in wild form. Sabine had
danced with an excitement in her veins which she could not control. Had there been no
music or lights, she might just have felt frightfully disturbed and unhappy, but as it was
she was only conscious of excitement. Lord Fordyce was above showing jealousy, and
was content that she seemed to be enjoying herself, and did not appear unwilling to return
to him quite frequently and walk about the room or sit down.
"You are looking so supremely bewitching, my darling," he told her. "I feel it is selfish of
me to keep you away from the gay dances, you are so young and sweet. I want you to
enjoy yourself. Have you not danced with Michael Arranstoun yet? I saw you were
getting on with him splendidly at dinner—he used to be a great dancer before he went off
to foreign parts."
"No, I have not spoken to him even," she answered, with what indifference she could.
"What was he saying just before you left the dining-room which made you look so
haughty, dearest? He was not impertinent to you, I hope," and Henry frowned a little at
the thought.
Sabine played with her fan—she was feeling inexpressibly mean.
"No—not in the least—we were discussing someone we had both known—long ago—she
is dead now. I may have been a little annoyed at what he said. Oh! is that a Scotch reel
they are going to begin?"
How glad she was of this diversion! She knew she had been capricious with Lord
Fordyce once or twice during the evening. She was greatly perturbed. Oh! Why had she
not had the courage to be her usual, honest self, and have told him immediately at
Héronac who her husband really was. She was in a false position, ashamed of her deceit
and surrounded by a net-work of acted lies; and all through everything there was a
passionate longing to speak to Michael again, and to be near him once more as at dinner.
She had been conscious of everything that he did—of whom he had danced with—
Moravia for several times—and now she knew that he was not in the ball-room.
Nothing could exceed Henry's gentleness and goodness to her. He watched her moods
and put up with her caprices; that something unusual had disturbed her he felt, but what it
could be he was unable to guess.
Sabine was aware that other women were envying her for the attention showered upon
her by this much sought after man. She tried to assure herself how fortunate she was, and
now got Henry to tell her once more of things about his home. It was in the fairest part of