Arthur answered gravely: "It's no joking matter. I have been all day at the garden wall, waiting to see her again! It depends on Miss Haldane to make me the happiest or the wretchedest man living."
"You foolish boy! How can you talk such nonsense?"
He was talking nonsense undoubtedly. But, if Agnes had only known it, he was doing something more than that. He was innocently leading her another stage nearer on the way to Venice.
As the summer months advanced, the transformation of the Venetian palace into the modern hotel proceeded rapidly toward completion.
The outside of the building, with its fine Palladian front looking on the canal, was wisely left unaltered. Inside, as a matter of necessity, the rooms were almost rebuilt--so far at least as the size and the arrangement of them were concerned. The vast saloons were partitioned off into "apartments" containing three or four rooms each. The broad corridors in the upper regions afforded spare space enough for rows of little bedchambers, devoted to servants and to travelers with limited means. Nothing was spared but the solid floors and the finely-carved ceilings. These last, in excellent preservation as to workmanship, merely