Timidly, almost appealingly, a girl with pathetic blue eyes looked at a man opposite to her. They were a striking contrast; the girl so young and fair and innocent of the world, the man wearing an assumption of benevolence which was belied by the furtiveness of his eyes, and the sensual lips. Smooth were his words; but anybody who knew the world would have mistrusted Roger Carney instinctively. As to the rest, he was a theatrical agent in very poor repute, though Elsie Vane was ignorant of that when she wrote to him from the country in reply to a plausible advertisement. He spread out his hands and affected a look of sympathy.