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After that Henry never left him alone. The book was born now in Henry's brain as well as in Peter's; it knew its own power and that its time would come.

CHAPTER V

She looked at him curiously, as though she were seeing him for the first time.

Mrs. Armstrong laughed her deep bass laugh.

"I'm sorry. I ought to have warned you. You looked so lovely I couldn't help myself. Millie, I adore you. I have done so ever since I first met you. I love you. I love you. You must marry me. We'll be happy for ever and ever."

It took her some little while to realize thatthen she said:

"Perhaps I will not," said Mrs. Tenssen, suddenly getting up from her chair and facing him. "Now you've been hanging around here just about enough, and it will please you to take yourself off once and for all or I'll see that somebody makes you." She turned round to Mrs. Armstrong. "It's perfectly disgusting what I've had to put up with from him. You'll recollect that first day he broke in here through the window just like any common thief. It's my belief it was thieving he was after then and it's been thieving he's been after ever since. Damned little squab.

The books across that wide space echoed: "Sir Charles is dead."

"Yes, of course I'm a Pirate." (Hadn't some one else somewhere said that once?) "This is the day for Pirates. There never was such a time for them. All sorts of people going about with money that they don't know what to do with. All sorts of other people without any money ready to do anything to get it. No morality any more. Damned good thing for England. Hypocrisy was the only thing that was the matter with hernow she's a hypocrite no longer! You see I'm frank with you, Miss Trenchard. You say you don't like me. Well, I'll return the compliment. I don't like you either. Of course you're damned pretty, about the prettiest girl in London I should say. But you're damned conceited too. You'll forgive me, won't you? You don't spare me you know. I tell young Baxter he's a fool to marry you. He'll be miserable with you."

All this made him very sick and put him into an agony of desire to seize Christina and deliver her from the horrible place, but until now he had not thought of any plan, and one of his principal difficulties was that he could never succeed in being with Christina alone.

"Where would you like to have tea? I'd want to take you to the grandest place there is if you'd care for that."

[Pg 65]

The thought in his brain was: "Why are there so many people here? They don't want all of us. . . ."