In ten minutes more we are briskly and safely trotting up to the hall-door. Before we reach it, I see Roger standing under the lit portico, with level hand shading his eyes, which are intently staring out into the darkness.
“All right? nothing happened?” he asks, in a tone of the most poignant anxiety, almost before we have pulled up.
“All right!” replies Barbara’s voice, softly cheerful. “Are you looking for Nancy? She is at the back with Frank.”
Roger makes no comment, but this time he does not offer to lift me down.
“Well, here we are!” cries Mr. Parker, coming beaming into the hall, with his mackintosh one great drip, laughing and rubbing his hands. “And though I say it that should not, there are not many that could have brought you home better than I have done to-night, and, I declare, in spite of the rain, we have not had half a bad day, have we?”
But we are all strictly silent.
“... Peace, pray you, now, No dancing more. Sing sweet, and make us mirth. We have done with dancing measures; sing that song You call the song of love at ebb.”
Yesterday it had seemed impossible that we could ever be dry again, and yet to-day we are. Even our hair is no longer in dull, discolored ropes. A night has intervened between us and our sufferings. We have at last got the sound of the hissing rain and the thunder of the boisterous wind out of our ears. We have all got colds more or less. I am among the less for rough weather has never been an enemy to me, and at home I have always been used to splashing about in the wet, with the native relish of a young duck. Mrs. Huntley is (despite the fly) among the more. She does not appear until late—not until near luncheon-time. Her cold is in the head, the safest but unbecomingest place, producing, as I with malignant joy perceive, a slight thickening and swelling of her little thin nose, and a boiled-gooseberry air in her appealing eyes.
The old gentleman is—with the exception, perhaps, of Algy—the most dilapidated among us. He has not yet begun one anecdote, whose point was not smothered and effaced by that choking, goat-like cough. This is perhaps a gain to us, as one is not expected to laugh at a cough nor does its denoument ever put one to the blush.
Mr. Parker has no cold at all, and has even had the shameless audacity to propose another expedition to-day. But we all rise in such loud and open revolt that he has perforce to withdraw his suggestion.