'Fleur, I love you. Fleur!'
Fleur uttered a short laugh.
'Come again,' she said, 'when I haven't got my wish.'
'What is your wish?'
'Fleur,' said Mont, and his voice sounded strange, 'don't mock me! Even vivisected dogs are worth decent treatment before they're cut up for good.'
Fleur shook her head; but her lips were trembling.
'Well, you shouldn't make me jump. Give me a cigarette.'
Mont gave her one, lighted it, and another for himself.
'I don't want to talk rot,' he said, 'but please imagine all the rot that all the lovers that ever were have talked, and all my special rot thrown in.'
'Thank you, I have imagined it. Good-night!'
They stood for a moment facing each other in the shadow of an acacia-tree with very moonlit blossoms, and the smoke from their cigarettes mingled in the air between them.
'Also ran: " Michael Mont"?' he said. Fleur turned abruptly toward the house. On the lawn she stopped to look back. Michael Mont was whirling his arms above him; she could see them dashing at his head; then waving at the moonlit blossoms of the acacia. His voice just reached her. 'Jolly-jolly!' Fleur shook herself. She couldn't help him, she had too much trouble of her own! On the verandah she stopped very suddenly again. Her mother was sitting in the drawing-room at her writing bureau, quite alone. There was nothing remarkable in the expression of her face except its utter immobility. But she looked desolate! Fleur went upstairs. At the door of her room she paused. She could hear her father walking up and down, up and down the picture-gallery.
'Yes,' she thought, 'jolly! Oh, Jon!'
WHEN Fleur left him Jon stared at the Austrian. She was a thin woman with a dark face and the concerned expression of one who has watched every little good that life once had slip from her, one by one.