arried? And her name?"
"Joan," he said--"Joan Meredyth!"
"Joan--Meredyth!" said Lady Linden. She closed her eyes; she leaned back in her chair. "That girl!"
A chill feeling of alarm swept over him. She spoke, her ladyship spoke, as though such a girl existed, as though she knew her personally. And the name was a pure invention! Marjorie had invented it--at least, he believed so.
"You--you don't know her?"
"Know her--of course I know her. Didn't Marjorie bring her here from Miss Skinner's two holidays running? A very beautiful and brilliant girl, the loveliest girl I think I ever saw! Really, Hugh Alston, though I am surprised and pained at your silence and duplicity, I must absolve you. I always regarded you as more or less a fool, but Joan Meredyth is a girl any man might fall in love with!"
Hugh sat gripping the arms of his chair. What had he done, or rather what had Marjorie done? What desperate muddle had that little maid led him into? He had counted on the name b