with a lilac veil

He breakfasted at the Cosmos at eight, and before nine was at the office where he finished the morning mail before even Tooker and the clerks were aware of his presence there. There were many threads of the Sanborn case still at a loose end and he spent a long while writing and dictating to his stenographer, who was still at his side, when, at about eleven o’clock, the office boy brought in Nina Jaffray’s card .

He was still looking at it when Nina entered.

“I was afraid you might be busy, Phil,” she said calmly, “but I wanted to see you about something.”

He nodded to his stenographer and she took up her papers and went.

“The mountain wouldn’t come to Mahomet and so——”

“Do sit down, Nina.”

“I’m not interrupting you very much, am I?”

He laughed.

“No. I’m glad you came, if only to prove to my friends that I really do work.”

“Oh, is that all?”

“No. I’m glad to see you for other reasons.”

“I’m curious to know them.”

“To be assured, for one thing, that you’ve forgiven me for my boorishness ——”

“Oh, that! Yes. Of course.”

“And for another—that your mood will spare me the pains of further making a fool of myself.”

Nina shrugged lightly and laughed at him.

[257]

“Of course you know your limitations, Phil. How could I promise you that?”

Gallatin smiled at her. She was very fetching this morning in a wide dark beaver hat , and her well-cut tailor-made, snugly fitting in the prevailing mode, defined the long lines of her slim figure which seemed in his office chair to be very much at its ease.

“Will you be serious?”

“In a moment. For the present I’m so overjoyed at seeing you, that I’ve forgotten what I came for. Oh, yes—Phil, I’m hopelessly compromised and you’ve done it. Don’t laugh and don’t alarm yourself. You’re doing both at the same time—but I really am—seriously compromised. There’s a story going around that you and I vacation rentals——”

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