Thus it was that Phyllis went upon the stage of the Parthenon by the side of Herbert Courtland instead of by the side of George Holland; and the little laugh that Mrs. Linton gave was due to her careful observation of the latter's face when he perceived, as he did in spite of the engrossing nature of his conversation with his friend in the end stall, how his designs had been defeated by her tactics. She would not have minded having Herbert Courtland with her for the hour they might remain at the theater, but she had made up her mind that it was not to Phyllis' advantage that Mr. Holland should continue by her side in public after she had given him his dismissal.
She also perceived, with even greater gratification, that Herbert Courtland was looking nearly as dissatisfied with the result of her tactics as George Holland. If he had looked pleased at being by the side of Phyllis when he expected to be with her--Ella--what would life be worth to her?
But if he was dissatisfied at being with Phyllis instead of Mrs. Linton, he did not consider that any reason for neglecting the former. He wondered if she had any choice in sandwiches--of course she had in champagne. His curiosity was satisfied, and Phyllis was amply provided for.
"You are Mrs. Linton's dearest friend," he remarked casually, as they leaned up against the profile of the Church scene in "Cagliostro," for they were standing in the "wings"--to be exact--on the O. P. side.
"She is my dearest friend, at any rate," said Phyllis.
"You were not at school together. She is four or five years older than you."
"Only three. When she got married she seemed to me to be almost venerable. Three years seemed a long time then."
"But now you fancy that you have formed a right idea of what is meant by three years?"