“I’m attending to this salvage, sir,” said Mr. Martin, to the captain. “My folks live up Asquam way. I’ll take him along with me.”
Asquam’s languid representative of the telegraph knocked upon the door of Applegate Farm, which was locked. Then he thrust the yellow envelope as far under the door as possible and went his way. An hour later, a tall man and a radiant small boy pushed open the gate on Winterbottom Road and walked across the yellow grass. Kirk broke away and ran toward the house, hands outflung.
“Phil! Ken!” he called jubilantly.
His face shadowed as his hands came against the unyielding door of the house.
“Phil—” he faltered.
“Perhaps they haven’t the telegram,” Mr. Martin said. “We’ll have to wait around.”
“They might be at the Maestro’s,” Kirk said suddenly. “Come—run quick—I’ll show you the way. There’s a hole in the hedge—are you too big to get through?”
“I think not,” said the mate.
In the Maestro’s library, Felicia leaned suddenly upon the piano. “Ken,” she said, breathing hard, “something’s going to happen—something!”
“What more can happen?” Ken said gently.
“But—oh, please! Do something—I don’t know—”
“Poor child!” murmured the Maestro. “Sit here, Felicia. Help her, Ken.”
“I don’t need help,” said Phil. “Oh, you think I’m mad, I suppose. I’m not. Ken—please go and look out—go to the house. Oh, Kirk!”
The Maestro shook his head and put a hand on Felicia’s shoulder.
“Better go, Ken,” he said quietly.
Kenelm stepped upon the terrace. Through the long window, which he left open behind him, a joyous voice came quite clearly to the library.
“And this is the poor empty pool that I told you about, that never has had any water in it since then—and aren’t we at the terrace steps now?”
Felicia vowed afterward that she didn’t faint. Yet she had no clear recollection of seeing Kirk between the time when she saw him drop the hand of the tall, strange man and run up the steps, and when they all were standing around her in the library, looking a little grave.
“Phil—Phil!” Kirk was saying then. “Oh, aren’t you glad to see me at all? It’s me—oh, Phil!”
His eager hands sought her face, to be sure it was she, so strange and quiet.
“Just a minute, lamb,” she heard Ken say, with a hand on Kirk’s shoulder. “Phil doesn’t feel quite right.”
Then warm, delicious life rushed over her, and she could move again and fling her trembling arms around Kirk. She and Ken and the Maestro all managed to embrace Kirk at once, so that they embraced each other, too. And Ken was not ashamed of his tears, nor was the Maestro.
The ex-mate of the Celestine stood discreetly on the terrace, whistling to himself. But he was not whistling the song about his hat. No, it was a little plaintive air, dimly familiar, Ken thought. Where had he heard it before? And why was the Maestro straightening with a stricken face, from Kirk?