The girl turned away from the splendour of it and laid her aching head against the cool windowpane. A hansom flashed along in the street below with just a glimpse of a pretty laughing girl in it with a man by her side. From another part of the Royal Palace Hotel came sounds of mirth and gaiety. All the world seemed to be happy, to-night, perhaps to mock the misery of the girl with her head against the windowpane.
And yet on the face of it, Beatrice Darryll's lines seemed to have fallen in pleasant places. She was young and healthy, and, in the eyes of her friends, beautiful. Still, the startling pallor of her face was in vivid contrast with the dead black dress she wore, a dress against which her white arms and throat stood out like ivory on a back-ground of ebony and silver. There was no colour about the girl at all, save for the warm, ripe tone of her hair and the deep, steadfast blue of her eyes. Though her face was cold and scornful, she would not have given the spectator the impression of coldness, only utter weariness and a tiredness of life at the early age of twenty-two.