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SECRET PLACES OF THE HEART

wanted me to crown his life. He wasn’t ill-looking or ill-mannered. The second main streak in my nature wouldn’t however fit in with that.”

She stopped short.

“The second streak,” said Sir Richmond.

“Oh!—— Love of beauty, love of romance. I want to give things their proper names; I don’t want to pretend to you.... It was more or less than that.... It was—imaginative sensuousness. Why should I pretend it wasn’t in me? I believe that streak is in all women.”

“I believe so too. In all properly constituted women.”

“I tried to devote that streak to Lake,” she said. “I did my best for him. But Lake was much too much of a gentleman or an idealist about women, or what you will, to know his business as a lover. And that side of me fell in love, the rest of me protesting, with a man named Caston. It was a notorious affair. Everybody in New York couples my name with Caston. Except when my father is about. His jealousy has blasted an area of silence—in that matter—all round him. He will not know of that story. And they dare not tell him. I should pity anyone who tried to tell it him.”

“What sort of man was this Caston?”

Miss Grammont seemed to consider. She did not look at Sir Richmond; she kept her profile to him.