It was wretchedly scrawled (the man brought it back to
Edward Severne had this advantage over most impostors, that he was masculine or feminine as occasion required. For instance, he could be hysterical or bold to serve the turn. Another example--he watched faces like a woman, and yet he could look you in the face like a man, especially when he was lying. In the present conjuncture a crafty woman would have bristled with all the arts of self-defense, but stayed at home and kept close to Zoe. Not so our master of arts; he went manfully to meet Rhoda Gale, and so secure a _te'te-'a-te'te,_ and learn, if possible, what she meant to do, and whether she could be cannily propitiated. He reached the station before her, and wired a very intelligent person who, he knew, conducted delicate inquiries, and had been very successful in a divorce case, public two years before. Even as he dispatched this message there was a whistling and a ringing, and the sound of a coming train, and Ned Severne ran to meet Rhoda Gale with a heart palpitating a little, and a face beaming greatly to order. He looked for her in the first-class carriages, but she was in the second, and saw him. He did not see her till she stepped out on the platform. Then he made toward her. He took off his hat, and said, with respectful zeal, "If you will tell me what luggage you have, the groom shall get it out."
Miss Gale's eyes wandered over him loftily. "I have only a box and a bag, sir, both marked 'R. G.' "
"Joe," said he--for he had already made friends with all the servants, and won their hearts--"box and bag marked 'R. G.' Miss Gale, you had better take your seat in the carriage."
Miss Gale gave a little supercilious nod, and he showed her obsequiously into the carriage. She laid her head back, and contemplated vacancy ahead in a manner anything but encouraging to this new admirer Fate had sent her. He turned away, a little discomfited, and when the luggage was brought up, he had the bag placed inside, and the box in a sort of boot, and then jumped in and seated himself inside. "Home," said he to the coachman, and off they went. When he came in she started with well-feigned surprise, and stared at him.
"Oh," said she, "I have met you before. Why, it is Mr. Severne. Excuse me taking you for one of the servants. Some people have short memories, you know."
This deliberate affront was duly felt, but parried with a master-hand.
"Why, I _am_ one of the servants," said he; "only I am not Vizard's. I'm yours."
"I am too poor to have fine servants."