“Sweetheart, sweetheart!” He put his cheek to mine. “To think how nearly I lost you!” And my heart echoed the exclamation could not speak aloud:
“Ah! Dicky, to think how nearly I lost you.”
A DARK NIGHT AND A TROUBLED DAWN
“How many more trains are there tonight?”
Lillian Underwood’s voice was sharp with anxiety. My voice reflected worry, as I answered her query.
“Two, one at 12:30, and the last, until morning, 2 o’clock.”
“Well, I suppose we might as well lie down and get some sleep. They probably will be out on the last train.”
“You don’t suppose,” I began, then stopped.
“That they’ve slipped off the water wagon?” Lillian returned grimly. “That’s just what I’m afraid of. We will know in a little while, anyway. Harry will begin to telephone me, and keep it up until he gets too lazy to remember the number. Come on, let’s get off these clothes and get into comfortable negligees. We probably shall have a long night of worry before us.”
I obeyed her suggestion, but I was wild with an anxiety which Lillian did not suspect. My question, which she had finished for me, had not meant what she had thought at all. In fact, until she spoke of it, that possibility had not occurred to me.
It was a far different fear that was gripping me. I was afraid that Grace Draper had failed to keep the bargain she had made with Lillian to keep out of Dicky’s way, in return for Lillian’s silence concerning the Draper girl’s mad attempt to drown me during our “desert island picnic.”
Whether or not my narrow escape from death had brought Dicky to a realization of what we meant to each other, I could not tell. At any rate, he never had been more my royal lover than in the five days since my accident. Indeed, since that day he had made but one trip to the city beside this with Harry Underwood, the return from which we were so anxiously awaiting. When the men left in the morning they had told us not to plan dinner at home, but to be ready to accompany them to a nearby resort for a “shore dinner,” as they were coming out on the 5 o’clock train. No wonder that at 10:30 Lillian and I were both anxious and irritated.
Dicky’s behavior toward me, since death so nearly gripped me, certainly had given me no reason to doubt that his infatuation for Grace Draper was at an end. But no one except myself knew how apparently strong her hold had been on Dicky through the weeks of the late summer, nor how ruthless her own mad passion for him was. Had she reconsidered her bargain? Was she making one last attempt to regain her hold upon Dicky?
The telephone suddenly rang out its insistent summons. I ran to it, but Lillian brushed past me and took the receiver from my trembling hand.
I sank down on the stairs and clutched the stair rail tightly with both hands to keep from falling.