“But the whole thing is tingling in my brain,” he protested. “Couldn’t we go into the library? We could find a corner by ourselves.”
She turned and looked at him, standing up now, the wind blowing her skirts, her eyes glowing, her lips a little parted. Then for the first time he understood her beauty, understood the peculiar qualities of it, the dissensions of the Press as to her appearance, the supreme charm of a woman possessed of a sweet and passionate temperament, turning her face towards the long-wished-for sun. Even the greater things caught hold of him in that moment, and he felt dimly what was coming.
“Do you really wish to work?” she asked.
He looked away from her.
“No!” he answered, a little thickly. “We will talk, if you will.”
They neither of them moved. The atmosphere had suddenly become charged with a force indescribable, almost numbing. In the far distance they saw the level line of lights from a passing steamer. Mr. Raymond Greene, with his hands in his ulster pockets, suddenly spotted them and did for them what they seemed to have lost the power to do.
“Hullo!” he exclaimed. “I’ve been looking for you two everywhere. I don’t want to hurt that smoking room steward’s feelings. He’s not bad at his job. But,” he added confidentially, dropping his voice and taking them both by the arm, “I have made a cocktail down in my stateroom—it’s there in the shaker waiting for us, something I can’t talk about. I’ve given Lawton one, and he’s following me about like a dog. Come right this way, both of you. Steady across the gangway—she’s pitching a little. Why, you look kind of scared, Mr. Romilly. Been to sleep, either of you?”
Philip’s laugh was almost too long to be natural. Elizabeth, as though by accident, had dropped her veil. Mr. Raymond Greene, bubbling over with good nature and anticipation, led them towards the stairs.
Mr. Raymond Greene could scarcely wait until Philip had taken his place at the dinner table that evening, to make known his latest discovery.
“Say, Mr. Romilly,” he exclaimed, leaning a little forward, “do you happen to have seen the wireless messages to-day?—those tissue sheets that are stuck up in the library?”
Philip set down the menu, in which he had been taking an unusual interest.
“Yes, I looked through them this afternoon,” he acknowledged.
“There’s a little one at the bottom, looks as though it had been shoved in at the last moment. I don’t know whether you noticed it. It announced the mysterious disappearance of a young man of the same name as your own—an art teacher from London, I think he was. I wondered whether it might have been any relation?”
“I read the message,” Philip admitted. “It certainly looks as though it might have referred to my cousin.”