At the door of Hilary's study sat Miranda. The little person answered his caress by a shiver of her sleek skin, then curled herself down again on the spot she had already warmed.
"Aren't you coming in with me?" he said.
The reason for her refusal was apparent when Hilary had entered. Close to the long bookcase, behind the bust of Socrates, stood the little model. Very still, as if fearing to betray itself by sound or movement, was her figure in its blue-green frock, and a brimless toque of brown straw, with two purplish roses squashed together into a band of darker velvet. Beside those roses a tiny peacock's feather had been slipped in--unholy little visitor, slanting backward, trying, as it were, to draw all eyes, yet to escape notice. And, wedged between the grim white bust and the dark bookcase, the girl herself was like some unlawful spirit which had slid in there, and stood trembling and vibrating, ready to be shuttered out.
Before this apparition Hilary recoiled towards the door, hesitated, and returned.
"You should not have come here," he muttered, "after what we said to you yesterday."
The little model answered quickly: "But I've seen Hughs, Mr. Dallison. He's found out where I live. Oh, he does look dreadful; he frightens me. I can't ever stay there now."
She had come a little out of her hiding-place, and stood fidgeting her hands and looking down.
'She's not speaking the truth,' thought Hilary.