He could scarcely maintain this view, however, for she was as cordial to him as to any one, while at the same time giving the impression that he was scarcely in her thoughts at all. Mr. Muir was perplexed also, and watched her with furtive admiration. "If she cares for Graydon's neglect she's a superb actress," he thought.
When Graydon's name was mentioned he happened to glance up from the dinner which usually absorbed his attention. In dealing with men he had acquired the habit of keen observation. During a business transaction his impassive face and quiet eyes gave no evidence of his searching scrutiny.
His name was on the directory board downstairs. Graydon's heart gave a quick bound with the thought that his father had proved the charges false after all. Elias Droom was busy directing the labours of two able-bodied men and a charwoman, all of whom were toiling as they had never toiled before. The woman was dusting law books and the men were packing them away in boxes.
Remember, we entreat you, the very delicate position that such a manifesto places us in, as well as the effect which it may have on Mr Graydon's personal safety.
She talked to him as if nothing had happened to make her distrustful, but no self-control in the world could have checked the growth of that remorseless thing called suspicion. For her own sake, for her mother's, for Graydon's, she tried to put it down. Instead, it grew greater and stronger as she looked into his eyes, for in them she saw the light that heretofore had escaped her notice.
Graydon's impetuous words and salute had produced smiles and envious glances, and the family party withdrew into a retired corner of the apartment, Madge's cheeks, meanwhile, vying, in spite of herself, with the rose on her breast. Graydon would not relinquish her hand, and, as Mrs. Muir had predicted, indulged in little more than exclamation points.
Cable that she reluctantly consented to visit Graydon's father solely for the purpose of gleaning what information she could regarding her parentage. They left the next day with Elias Droom, depressed, nervous, dreading the hour ahead of them. Neither was in the mood to respond to the eager, excited remarks of the old clerk.
Graydon's suggestion that her action was not high-toned, although delicately made, touched her pride to the quick, and she was compelled to feel during this interview, as never before, the superiority of the man who addressed her.
Graydon's manner already began to fulfil his promise. He would quietly accept the situation as he understood it, and she saw already the steadying power of an unselfish, unfaltering purpose. He appeared by years an older and a graver man, and when he sat by her during the service in the wide parlor, there was not a trace of his old flippant irreverence.
She was learning to dread even more Graydon's high-toned sense of honor, the final decisions he reached from motives which had slight influence with her. What if she should permit both men to slip from her grasp, while she hesitated? She fairly turned cold with horror at the thought of this and of the poverty which might result.