He had not specified, in writing to Gordon Wright, the day on which he shoul_rrive at Baden-Baden; it must be confessed that he was not addicted t_pecifying days. He came to his journey's end in the evening, and, o_resenting himself at the hotel from which his friend had dated his letter, h_earned that Gordon Wright had betaken himself after dinner, according to th_ustom of Baden-Baden, to the grounds of the Conversation-house. It was eigh_'clock, and Longueville, after removing the stains of travel, sat down t_ine. His first impulse had been to send for Gordon to come and keep hi_ompany at his repast; but on second thought he determined to make it as brie_s possible. Having brought it to a close, he took his way to the Kursaal. Th_reat German watering-place is one of the prettiest nooks in Europe, and of _ummer evening in the gaming days, five-and-twenty years ago, it was one o_he most brilliant scenes. The lighted windows of the great temple of hazard
(of as chaste an architecture as if it had been devoted to a much pure_ivinity) opened wide upon the gardens and groves; the little river tha_ssues from the bosky mountains of the Black Forest flowed, with an air o_rook-like innocence, past the expensive hotels and lodging-houses; th_rchestra, in a high pavilion on the terrace of the Kursaal, played a discree_ccompaniment to the conversation of the ladies and gentlemen who, scattere_ver the large expanse on a thousand little chairs, preferred for the time th_eauties of nature to the shuffle of coin and the calculation of chance; whil_he faint summer stars, twinkling above the vague black hills and woods,
looked down at the indifferent groups without venturing to drop their ligh_pon them.
Longueville, noting all this, went straight into the gaming-rooms; he wa_urious to see whether his friend, being fond of experiments, was tryin_ombinations at roulette. But he was not to be found in any of the gilde_hambers, among the crowd that pressed in silence about the tables; so tha_ernard presently came and began to wander about the lamp-lit terrace, wher_nnumerable groups, seated and strolling, made the place a giganti_onversazione. It seemed to him very agreeable and amusing, and he remarked t_imself that, for a man who was supposed not to take especially the Epicurea_iew of life, Gordon Wright, in coming to Baden, had certainly made himsel_omfortable. Longueville went his way, glancing from one cluster of talkers t_nother; and at last he saw a face which brought him to a stop. He stood _oment looking at it; he knew he had seen it before. He had an excellen_emory for faces; but it was some time before he was able to attach a_dentity to this one. Where had he seen a little elderly lady with a_xpression of timorous vigilance, and a band of hair as softly white as _ove's wing? The answer to the question presently came—Where but in a grass-
grown corner of an old Italian town? The lady was the mother of hi_nconsequent model, so that this mysterious personage was probably herself no_ar off. Before Longueville had time to verify this induction, he found hi_yes resting upon the broad back of a gentleman seated close to the old lady,
and who, turning away from her, was talking to a young girl. It was nothin_ut the back of this gentleman that he saw, but nevertheless, with th_nstinct of true friendship, he recognized in this featureless expanse th_obust personality of Gordon Wright. In a moment he had stepped forward an_aid his hand upon Wright's shoulder.
His friend looked round, and then sprang up with a joyous exclamation an_rasp of the hand.
"My dear fellow—my dear Bernard! What on earth—when did you arrive?"
While Bernard answered and explained a little, he glanced from his friend'_ood, gratified face at the young girl with whom Wright had been talking, an_hen at the lady on the other side, who was giving him a bright little stare.
He raised his hat to her and to the young girl, and he became conscious, a_egards the latter, of a certain disappointment. She was very pretty; she wa_ooking at him; but she was not the heroine of the little incident of th_errace at Siena.
"It 's just like Longueville, you know," Gordon Wright went on; "he alway_omes at you from behind; he 's so awfully fond of surprises." He wa_aughing; he was greatly pleased; he introduced Bernard to the two ladies.
"You must know Mrs. Vivian; you must know Miss Blanche Evers."
Bernard took his place in the little circle; he wondered whether he ought t_enture upon a special recognition of Mrs. Vivian. Then it seemed to him tha_e should leave the option of this step with the lady, especially as he ha_etected recognition in her eye. But Mrs. Vivian ventured upon nothin_pecial; she contented herself with soft generalities—with remarking that sh_lways liked to know when people would arrive; that, for herself, she neve_njoyed surprises.
"And yet I imagine you have had your share," said Longueville, with a smile.
He thought this might remind her of the moment when she came out of the littl_hurch at Siena and found her daughter posturing to an unknown painter.
But Mrs. Vivian, turning her benignant head about, gave but a superficia_eply.
"Oh, I have had my share of everything, good and bad. I don't complain o_nything." And she gave a little deprecating laugh.
Gordon Wright shook hands with Bernard again; he seemed really very glad t_ee him. Longueville, remembering that Gordon had written to him that he ha_een "making love," began to seek in his countenance for the ravages o_assion. For the moment, however, they were not apparent; the excellent,
honest fellow looked placid and contented. Gordon Wright had a clear gray eye,
short, straight, flaxen hair, and a healthy diffusion of color. His feature_ere thick and rather irregular; but his countenance—in addition to the meri_f its expression—derived a certain grace from a powerful yellow moustache, t_hich its wearer occasionally gave a martial twist. Gordon Wright was no_all, but he was strong, and in his whole person there was something well-
planted and sturdy. He almost always dressed in light-colored garments, and h_ore round his neck an eternal blue cravat. When he was agitated he grew ver_ed. While he questioned Longueville about his journey and his health, hi_hereabouts and his intentions, the latter, among his own replies, endeavore_o read in Wright's eyes some account of his present situation. Was tha_retty girl at his side the ambiguous object of his adoration, and, in tha_ase, what was the function of the elder lady, and what had become of he_rgumentative daughter? Perhaps this was another, a younger daughter, though,
indeed, she bore no resemblance to either of Longueville's friends. Gordo_right, in spite of Bernard's interrogative glances, indulged in no optica_onfidences. He had too much to tell. He would keep his story till they shoul_e alone together. It was impossible that they should adjourn just yet t_ocial solitude; the two ladies were under Gordon's protection. Mrs.
Vivian—Bernard felt a satisfaction in learning her name; it was as if _urtain, half pulled up and stopped by a hitch, had suddenly been raise_ltogether—Mrs. Vivian sat looking up and down the terrace at the crowd o_oungers and talkers with an air of tender expectation. She was probabl_ooking for her elder daughter, and Longueville could not help wishing als_hat this young lady would arrive. Meanwhile, he saw that the young girl t_hom Gordon had been devoting himself was extremely pretty, and appeare_minently approachable. Longueville had some talk with her, reflecting that i_he were the person concerning whom Gordon had written him, it behooved him t_ppear to take an interest in her. This view of the case was confirmed b_ordon Wright's presently turning away to talk with Mrs. Vivian, so that hi_riend might be at liberty to make acquaintance with their companion.
Though she had not been with the others at Siena, it seemed to Longueville,
with regard to her, too, that this was not the first time he had seen her. Sh_as simply the American pretty girl, whom he had seen a thousand times. It wa_ numerous sisterhood, pervaded by a strong family likeness. This young lad_ad charming eyes (of the color of Gordon's cravats), which looked everywher_t once and yet found time to linger in some places, where Longueville's ow_yes frequently met them. She had soft brown hair, with a silky-golden threa_n it, beautifully arranged and crowned by a smart little hat that savoured o_aris. She had also a slender little figure, neatly rounded, and delicate,
narrow hands, prettily gloved. She moved about a great deal in her place,
twisted her little flexible body and tossed her head, fingered her hair an_xamined the ornaments of her dress. She had a great deal of conversation,
Longueville speedily learned, and she expressed herself with extreme franknes_nd decision. He asked her, to begin with, if she had been long at Baden, bu_he impetus of this question was all she required. Turning her charming,
conscious, coquettish little face upon him, she instantly began to chatter.
"I have been here about four weeks. I don't know whether you call that long.
It does n't seem long to me; I have had such a lovely time. I have met ever s_any people here I know—every day some one turns up. Now you have turned u_o-day."
"Ah, but you don't know me," said Longueville, laughing.
"Well, I have heard a great deal about you!" cried the young girl, with _retty little stare of contradiction. "I think you know a great friend o_ine, Miss Ella Maclane, of Baltimore. She 's travelling in Europe now."
Longueville's memory did not instantly respond to this signal, but h_xpressed that rapturous assent which the occasion demanded, and even riske_he observation that the young lady from Baltimore was very pretty. "She '_ar too lovely," his companion went on. "I have often heard her speak of you.
I think you know her sister rather better than you know her. She has not bee_ut very long. She is just as interesting as she can be. Her hair comes dow_o her feet. She 's travelling in Norway. She has been everywhere you ca_hink of, and she 's going to finish off with Finland. You can't go an_urther than that, can you? That 's one comfort; she will have to turn roun_nd come back. I want her dreadfully to come to Baden-Baden."
"I wish she would," said Longueville. "Is she travelling alone?"
"Oh, no. They 've got some Englishman. They say he 's devoted to Ella. Ever_ne seems to have an Englishman, now. We 've got one here, Captain Lovelock,
the Honourable Augustus Lovelock. Well, they 're awfully handsome. Ell_aclane is dying to come to Baden-Baden. I wish you 'd write to her. He_ather and mother have got some idea in their heads; they think it '_mproper—what do you call it?—immoral. I wish you would write to her and tel_er it is n't. I wonder if they think that Mrs. Vivian would come to a plac_hat 's immoral. Mrs. Vivian says she would take her in a moment; she does n'_eem to care how many she has. I declare, she 's only too kind. You know I '_n Mrs. Vivian's care. My mother 's gone to Marienbad. She would let me g_ith Mrs. Vivian anywhere, on account of the influence—she thinks so much o_rs. Vivian's influence. I have always heard a great deal about it, have n'_ou? I must say it 's lovely; it 's had a wonderful effect upon me. I don'_ant to praise myself, but it has. You ask Mrs. Vivian if I have n't bee_ood. I have been just as good as I can be. I have been so peaceful, I hav_ust sat here this way. Do you call this immoral? You 're not obliged t_amble if you don't want to. Ella Maclane's father seems to think you ge_rawn in. I 'm sure I have n't been drawn in. I know what you 're going t_ay—you 're going to say I have been drawn out. Well, I have, to-night. W_ust sit here so quietly—there 's nothing to do but to talk. We make a littl_arty by ourselves—are you going to belong to our party? Two of us ar_issing—Miss Vivian and Captain Lovelock. Captain Lovelock has gone with he_nto the rooms to explain the gambling—Miss Vivian always wants everythin_xplained. I am sure I understood it the first time I looked at the tables.
Have you ever seen Miss Vivian? She 's very much admired, she 's so ver_nusual. Black hair 's so uncommon—I see you have got it too—but I mean fo_oung ladies. I am sure one sees everything here. There 's a woman that come_o the tables—a Portuguese countess—who has hair that is positively blue. _an't say I admire it when it comes to that shade. Blue 's my favorite color,
but I prefer it in the eyes," continued Longueville's companion, resting upo_im her own two brilliant little specimens of the tint.
He listened with that expression of clear amusement which is not always a_ndication of high esteem, but which even pretty chatterers, who are not th_everse of estimable, often prefer to masculine inattention; and while h_istened Bernard, according to his wont, made his reflections. He said t_imself that there were two kinds of pretty girls—the acutely conscious an_he finely unconscious. Mrs. Vivian's protege was a member of the forme_ategory; she belonged to the genus coquette. We all have our conception o_he indispensable, and the indispensable, to this young lady, was a spectator;
almost any male biped would serve the purpose. To her spectator she addressed,
for the moment, the whole volume of her being—addressed it in her glances, he_ttitudes, her exclamations, in a hundred little experiments of tone an_esture and position. And these rustling artifices were so innocent an_bvious that the directness of her desire to be well with her observer becam_n itself a grace; it led Bernard afterward to say to himself that the natura_ocation and metier of little girls for whom existence was but a shimmerin_urface, was to prattle and ruffle their plumage; their view of life and it_uties was as simple and superficial as that of an Oriental bayadere. I_urely could not be with regard to this transparent little flirt that Gordo_right desired advice; you could literally see the daylight—or rather th_aden gaslight—on the other side of her. She sat there for a minute, turnin_er little empty head to and fro, and catching Bernard's eye every time sh_oved; she had for the instant the air of having exhausted all topics. Jus_hen a young lady, with a gentleman at her side, drew near to the littl_roup, and Longueville, perceiving her, instantly got up from his chair.
"There 's a beauty of the unconscious class!" he said to himself. He knew he_ace very well; he had spent half an hour in copying it.
"Here comes Miss Vivian!" said Gordon Wright, also getting up, as if to mak_oom for the daughter near the mother.
She stopped in front of them, smiling slightly, and then she rested her eye_pon Longueville. Their gaze at first was full and direct, but it expresse_othing more than civil curiosity. This was immediately followed, however, b_he light of recognition—recognition embarrassed, and signalling itself by _lush.
Miss Vivian's companion was a powerful, handsome fellow, with a remarkabl_uburn beard, who struck the observer immediately as being uncommonly wel_ressed. He carried his hands in the pockets of a little jacket, the button-
hole of which was adorned with a blooming rose. He approached Blanche Evers,
smiling and dandling his body a little, and making her two or three jocula_ows.
"Well, I hope you have lost every penny you put on the table!" said the youn_irl, by way of response to his obeisances.
He began to laugh and repeat them.
"I don't care what I lose, so long—so long—"
"So long as what, pray?"
"So long as you let me sit down by you!" And he dropped, very gallantly, int_ chair on the other side of her.
"I wish you would lose all your property!" she replied, glancing at Bernard.
"It would be a very small stake," said Captain Lovelock. "Would you reall_ike to see me reduced to misery?"
While this graceful dialogue rapidly established itself, Miss Vivian remove_er eyes from Longueville's face and turned toward her mother. But Gordo_right checked this movement by laying his hand on Longueville's shoulder an_roceeding to introduce his friend.
"This is the accomplished creature, Mr. Bernard Longueville, of whom you hav_eard me speak. One of his accomplishments, as you see, is to drop down fro_he moon."
"No, I don't drop from the moon," said Bernard, laughing. "I drop from—Siena!"
He offered his hand to Miss Vivian, who for an appreciable instant hesitate_o extend her own. Then she returned his salutation, without any response t_is allusion to Siena.
She declined to take a seat, and said she was tired and preferred to go home.
With this suggestion her mother immediately complied, and the two ladie_ppealed to the indulgence of little Miss Evers, who was obliged to renounc_he society of Captain Lovelock. She enjoyed this luxury, however, on the wa_o Mrs. Vivian's lodgings, toward which they all slowly strolled, in th_ociable Baden fashion. Longueville might naturally have found himself nex_iss Vivian, but he received an impression that she avoided him. She walked i_ront, and Gordon Wright strolled beside her, though Longueville noticed tha_hey appeared to exchange but few words. He himself offered his arm to Mrs.
Vivian, who paced along with a little lightly-wavering step, makin_bservations upon the beauties of Baden and the respective merits of th_otels.