"Is she to blame for doing that?"
"It depends on your feeling for her."
"Suppose you heard she was engaged to be married?" Francine suggested.
Mirabel's manner--studiously cold and formal thus far--altered on a sudden. He looked with unconcealed anxiety at Francine. "Do you say that seriously?" he asked.
"I said 'suppose.' I don't exactly know that she is engaged."
"Oh, how interested you are in Emily! She is admired by some people. Are you one of them?"
Mirabel's experience of women warned him to try silence as a means of provoking her into speaking plainly. The experiment succeeded: Francine returned to the question that he had put to her, and abruptly answered it.
"You may believe me or not, as you like--I know of a man who is in love with her. He has had his opportunities; and he has made good use of them. Would you like to know who he is?"