Augustus had greatly profited by Lord Luffton’s defection. Whether it was to make the latter jealous, I do not know, but Lady Grenellen had been remarkably gracious to him all the evening.
I learned, casually, that she was to be the fourth at Dane Mount.
“We shall be such a little party,” she said. “Only myself and you and your husband. I asked Antony to take me in, as it is on the road to Headbrook, where I go the next day, I thought he was having a large party, though.”
I wished she was not going; there seemed something degrading about the arrangement.
I had not let myself think of this visit. And now it would be the day but one after to-morrow!
A strange restlessness and excitement took possession of me. I could not sleep.
It was a raw, foggy morning when we all left Myrlton. The Duke accompanied us to London, and we were a merry party in the train, in spite of eight of us playing bridge.
Augustus told me he had business in town, and would stay the night and over Sunday, arriving at Dane Mount by the four-o’clock train on Monday.
“If you leave home at three, in the motor,” he said, “we shall get there exactly at the same time.”
And so I returned to Ledstone alone.
The fog was white round the windows as I came down to my solitary breakfast on the 4th. My heart sank. What if it should be too thick for me to start? I could not bear to think of the disappointment that would be.
I forced myself to practise for an hour after breakfast. Then I wrote a long letter to the Marquis de Rochermont. Then I looked again at my watch and again at the fog. I should start at half-past two, to give plenty of time, as we should certainly have to go slowly.
At last, at last, luncheon came. I never felt less hungry, nor had the servants ever appeared so pompous and slow. It seemed as if it could never be half-past two.
However, it struck eventually, and the automobile came round to the door.
For the first five miles the fog was very thick. We had to creep along. Then it lifted a little, then fell again. But at half-past four we turned into the lodge-gates. I could see nothing in front of me. The trees seemed like gaunt ghosts, with the mist and the dying daylight. The drive across the park and up the long avenue was fraught with difficulty. Even when we arrived I could see nothing but the bright lights from the windows. But as the door was thrown open, I realised that Antony was standing there against the flood of brightness.
I seem always to be saying my heart beats, but there is no other way of describing the extraordinary and unusual physical sensation that happens to me when I meet this man.
“Welcome!” he said, as he helped me out of the automobile. “Welcome to Dane Mount!”
A broad corridor, full of trophies of the chase and armor and carved oak, leads to a splendid hall, high to the top of the house, with a great staircase and galleries running round. It is hung with tapestry and pictures, and full of old and beautiful furniture.