And thus it was that at five minutes to eight o'clock Herbert found himself face to face alone with the woman whom he had so grossly humiliated.
Perhaps she was hard on him after all: she addressed him as Mr. Courtland. She felt that she, at any rate, had returned to the straight path of duty when she had done that. (It was Herbert Courtland who had talked to Phyllis of the modern philosopher--a political philosopher or a philosophical politician--who, writing against compromise, became the leading exponent of that science, and had hoped to solve the question of a Deity by using a small g in spelling God. On the same principle Ella had called Herbert "Mr. Courtland.")
He felt uneasy. Was he ashamed of himself, she wondered?
"Stephen will be down in a moment, Mr. Courtland," she said.
"How warm it has been all day!" she added. "I thought of you toiling away over figures in the city, when you might have been breathing the lovely air of the sea. It was too bad of Stephen to bring you back."
"I assure you I was glad to get his letter at Leith," said he. "I was thinking for the two days previous how I could best concoct a telegram to myself at Leith in order that I might have some excuse for running away."
"That is assuming that running away needs some excuse," said she.
There was a considerable pause before he said, in a low tone: