men, the chivalrous men - is it not written on the very shield of your nation, honi soit? Ah, it is hard for me to learn, hard for me to dare to be myself. You must not judge me yet awhile; I shall end by conquering this stiffness, I shall end by growing English. Do I speak the language well?'

`Perfectly - oh, perfectly!' said Harry, with a fervency of conviction worthy of a graver subject.

`Ah, then,' she said, `I shall soon learn; English blood ran in my father's veins; and I have had the advantage of some training in your expressive tongue. If I speak already without accent, with my thorough English appearance, there is nothing left to change except my manners.'

`Oh no,' said Desborough. `Oh pray not! I - madam - '

`I am,' interrupted the lady, `the Señorita Teresa Valdevia. The evening air grows chill. Adios, Señorito.' And before Harry could stammer out a word, she had disappeared into her room.

He stood transfixed, the cigarette still unlighted in his hand. His thoughts had soared above tobacco, and still recalled and beautified the image of his new acquaintance. Her voice re-echoed in his memory; her eyes, of which he could not tell the colour, haunted his soul. The clouds had risen at her coming, and he beheld a new-created world. What she was, he could not fancy, but he adored her. Her age, he durst not estimate; fearing to find her older than himself, and thinking sacrilege to couple that fair favour with the thought of mortal changes. As for her character, beauty to the young is always good. So the poor lad lingered late upon the terrace, stealing timid glances at the curtained window, sighing to the gold laburnums, rapt into the country of romance; and when at length he entered and sat down to dine, on cold boiled mutton and a pint of ale, he feasted on the food of gods.

Next day when he returned to the terrace, the window was a little ajar, and he enjoyed a view of the lady's shoulder, as she sat patiently sewing and all unconscious of his presence. On the next, he had scarce appeared when the window opened, and the Señorita tripped forth into the sunlight, in a morning disorder, delicately neat, and yet somehow foreign, tropical, and strange. In one hand she held a packet.

`Will you try,' she said, `some of my father's tobacco - from dear Cuba? There, as I suppose you know, all smoke, ladies as well as gentlemen. So you need not fear to annoy me. The fragrance will remind me of home. My home, Señor, was by the sea.' And as she uttered these few words, Desborough, for the first time in his life, realised the poetry of the great deep. `Awake or asleep, I dream of it: dear home, dear Cuba!'

`But some day,' said Desborough, with an inward pang, `some day you will return?'

` Never!' she cried; `ah, never, in Heaven's name!'

`Are you then resident for life in England?' he inquired, with a strange lightening of spirit.

`You ask too much, for you ask more than I know,' she answered sadly; and then, resuming her gaiety of manner: `But you have not tried my Cuban tobacco,' she said.

`Señorita,' said he, shyly abashed by some shadow of coquetry in her manner, `whatever comes to me - you - I mean,' he concluded, deeply flushing, `that I have no doubt the tobacco is delightful.'

`Ah, Señor,' she said, with almost mournful gravity, `you seemed so simple and good, and already you are trying to pay compliments - and besides,' she added, brightening, with a quick upward glance, into a smile, `you do it so badly! English gentlemen, I used to hear, could be fast friends, respectful, honest friends; could be companions, comforters, if the need arose, or champions, and yet never encroach. Do not seek to please me by copying the graces of my countrymen. Be yourself: the frank, kindly, honest English gentleman that I have heard of since my childhood and still longed to meet.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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