"Tell me, Gaspare, do you like him?"
"I do not dislike him, Signorina. He has never done me any harm."
"Of course not. Why should he?"
Again he looked at her with that curious expression in his eyes. Then he said:
"Come, Signorina! It is getting late. We must go to the island."
And they pulled out round the point to the open sea.
During the hot weather the dwellers in the Casa del Mare made the siesta after the mid-day meal. The awnings and blinds were drawn. Silence reigned, and the house was still as the Palace of the Sleeping Beauty. At the foot of the cliffs the sea slept in the sunshine, and it was almost an empty sea, for few boats passed by in those hot, still hours.
To-day the servants were quiet in their quarters. Only Gaspare was outside. And he, in shirt and trousers, with a white linen hat covering his brown face, was stretched under the dwarf trees of the little garden, in the shadow of the wall, resting profoundly after the labors of the morning. In their respective rooms Hermione and Vere were secluded behind shut doors. Hermione was lying down, but not sleeping. Vere was not lying down. Generally she slept at this time for an hour. But to-day, perhaps because of her nap in the cave, she had no desire for sleep.