Life at baden-baden proved a very sociable affair, and Bernard Longuevill_erceived that he should not lack opportunity for the exercise of those gift_f intelligence to which Gordon Wright had appealed. The two friends took lon_alks through the woods and over the mountains, and they mingled with huma_ife in the crowded precincts of the Conversation-house. They engaged in _amble on the morning after Bernard's arrival, and wandered far away, ove_ill and dale. The Baden forests are superb, and the composition of th_andscape is most effective. There is always a bosky dell in the foreground,
and a purple crag embellished with a ruined tower at a proper angle. A littl_imber-and-plaster village peeps out from a tangle of plum-trees, and a way-
side tavern, in comfortable recurrence, solicits concessions to the nationa_ustom of frequent refreshment. Gordon Wright, who was a dogged pedestrian,
always enjoyed doing his ten miles, and Longueville, who was an incorrigibl_troller, felt a keen relish for the picturesqueness of the country. But i_as not, on this occasion, of the charms of the landscape or the pleasures o_ocomotion that they chiefly discoursed. Their talk took a more closel_ersonal turn. It was a year since they had met, and there were many question_o ask and answer, many arrears of gossip to make up. As they stretche_hemselves on the grass on a sun-warmed hill-side, beneath a great German oa_hose arms were quiet in the blue summer air, there was a lively exchange o_mpressions, opinions, speculations, anecdotes. Gordon Wright was surely a_xcellent friend. He took an interest in you. He asked no idle questions an_ade no vague professions; but he entered into your situation, he examined i_n detail, and what he learned he never forgot. Months afterwards, he aske_ou about things which you yourself had forgotten. He was not a man of whom i_ould be generally said that he had the gift of sympathy; but he gave hi_ttention to a friend's circumstances with a conscientious fixedness which wa_t least very far removed from indifference. Bernard had the gift o_ympathy—or at least he was supposed to have it; but even he, familiar as h_ust therefore have been with the practice of this charming virtue, was a_imes so struck with his friend's fine faculty of taking other people'_ffairs seriously that he constantly exclaimed to himself, "The excellen_ellow—the admirable nature!"
Bernard had two or three questions to ask about the three persons who appeare_o have formed for some time his companion's principal society, but he wa_ndisposed to press them. He felt that he should see for himself, and at _rospect of entertainment of this kind, his fancy always kindled. Gordon was,
moreover, at first rather shy of confidences, though after they had lain o_he grass ten minutes there was a good deal said.
"Now what do you think of her face?" Gordon asked, after staring a while a_he sky through the oak-boughs.
"Of course, in future," said Longueville, "whenever you make use of th_ersonal pronoun feminine, I am to understand that Miss Vivian is indicated."
"Her name is Angela," said Gordon; "but of course I can scarcely call he_hat."
"It 's a beautiful name," Longueville rejoined; "but I may say, in answer t_our question, that I am not struck with the fact that her face corresponds t_t."
"You don't think her face beautiful, then?"
"I don't think it angelic. But how can I tell? I have only had a glimpse o_er."
"Wait till she looks at you and speaks—wait till she smiles," said Gordon.
"I don't think I saw her smile—at least, not at me, directly. I hope sh_ill!" Longueville went on. "But who is she—this beautiful girl with th_eautiful name?"
"She is her mother's daughter," said Gordon Wright. "I don't really know _reat deal more about her than that."
"And who is her mother?"
"A delightful little woman, devoted to Miss Vivian. She is a widow, and Angel_s her only child. They have lived a great deal in Europe; they have but _odest income. Over here, Mrs. Vivian says, they can get a lot of things fo_heir money that they can't get at home. So they stay, you see. When they ar_t home they live in New York. They know some of my people there. When the_re in Europe they live about in different places. They are fond of Italy.
They are extremely nice; it 's impossible to be nicer. They are very fond o_ooks, fond of music, and art, and all that. They always read in the morning.
They only come out rather late in the day."
"I see they are very superior people," said Bernard. "And little Mis_vers—what does she do in the morning? I know what she does in the evening!"
"I don't know what her regular habits are. I have n't paid much attention t_er. She is very pretty."
"Wunderschon!" said Bernard. "But you were certainly talking to her las_vening."
"Of course I talk to her sometimes. She is totally different from Angel_ivian—not nearly so cultivated; but she seems very charming."
"A little silly, eh?" Bernard suggested.
"She certainly is not so wise as Miss Vivian."
"That would be too much to ask, eh? But the Vivians, as kind as they are wise,
have taken her under their protection."
"Yes," said Gordon, "they are to keep her another month or two. Her mother ha_one to Marienbad, which I believe is thought a dull place for a young girl;
so that, as they were coming here, they offered to bring her with them. Mrs.
Evers is an old friend of Mrs. Vivian, who, on leaving Italy, had come up t_resden to be with her. They spent a month there together; Mrs. Evers had bee_here since the winter. I think Mrs. Vivian really came to Baden-Baden—sh_ould have preferred a less expensive place—to bring Blanche Evers. Her mothe_anted her so much to come."
"And was it for her sake that Captain Lovelock came, too?" Bernard asked.
Gordon Wright stared a moment.
"I 'm sure I don't know!"
"Of course you can't be interested in that," said Bernard smiling. "Who i_aptain Lovelock?"
"He is an Englishman. I believe he is what 's called aristocraticall_onnected—the younger brother of a lord, or something of that sort."
"Is he a clever man?"
"I have n't talked with him much, but I doubt it. He is rather rakish; h_lays a great deal."
"But is that considered here a proof of rakishness?" asked Bernard. "Have n'_ou played a little yourself?"
Gordon hesitated a moment.
"Yes, I have played a little. I wanted to try some experiments. I had mad_ome arithmetical calculations of probabilities, which I wished to test."
Bernard gave a long laugh.
"I am delighted with the reasons you give for amusing yourself! Arithmetica_alculations!"
"I assure you they are the real reasons!" said Gordon, blushing a little.
"That 's just the beauty of it. You were not afraid of being 'drawn in,' a_ittle Miss Evers says?"
"I am never drawn in, whatever the thing may be. I go in, or I stay out; but _m not drawn," said Gordon Wright.
"You were not drawn into coming with Mrs. Vivian and her daughter from Dresde_o this place?"
"I did n't come with them; I came a week later."
"My dear fellow," said Bernard, "that distinction is unworthy of your habitua_andor."
"Well, I was not fascinated; I was not overmastered. I wanted to come t_aden."
"I have no doubt you did. Had you become very intimate with your friends i_resden?"
"I had only seen them three times."
"After which you followed them to this place? Ah, don't say you were no_ascinated!" cried Bernard, laughing and springing to his feet.