He was accordingly perplexed when, after a brief exhortation by the auctioneer, discreetly noncommittal as to the antecedents of the canvas--"attributed to Corot"--Prince Victor, who had been straining forward like a hound in leash, half rose in his eagerness to offer:
"One thousand guineas!"
The entire company stirred as one and sat up sharply. Even the auctioneer was momentarily stricken dumb. And for the first time the Princess Sofia acknowledged the presence of her husband, and got from him that look of white hatred with a sneer of triumph thrown in for good measure.
Though she affected indifference, Lanyard saw her slender body transiently shaken by a shudder, it might have been of dread. But she was quick to pull herself together, and the auctioneer had scarcely found his tongue--"One thousand guineas for this magnificent canvas attributed to Cor