"Lina, what is it? What's the matter?"
"Not with these people here, De Beauvais and that woman. I want you to myself, alone in my house. I don't want those other people."
"Then give me your key, and I'll come back when they've gone."
"You're asking me to do something that I have never yet done for any one before."
"No one," he said, "has ever loved you as I do."
"You'd better come to-morrow night."
"What? Wait twenty-four hours before seeing you again?"
"Oh, you're impossible!"
But her eyes never left him for a moment, and she was like some one in a trance.
"The key, Lina!"
"Do you know," she said suddenly, "I was unhappy, to-night, when you came. I have a baby, a little boy, and he's ill. He is very delicate. He'11 never be strong, like other children."
"I'm very sorry," he said.
"I was upset, to-night, thinking of him."
"He certainly can't have inherited his ill-health from his mother, can he? Was your husband delicate?"
"My husband? What is it to do with him?"
"I beg your pardon."
"I don't want there to be any deceptions between us, ever," she said. "Paul isn't my husband's child. My husband had been dead for months and months when he was born. His father was a lover of mine, somebody of no importance whatsoever in my life."
But he continued to look troubled.
"Oh, listen," she said. "When I say that Paul's father