We have reached Sir Roger. I had set off on my little expedition feeling rather out of conceit with my young friend, and I return with those dispositions somewhat aggravated. We find my husband sitting where we left him, placidly smoking and listening to the band.
“Four-and-twenty fiddlers all in a row!”
They have long finished the Uhlanenritt, and are now clashing out a brisk Hussarenritt, in which one plainly hears the hussars’ thundering gallop, while the conductor madly waves his arms, as he has been doing unintermittingly for the last two hours.
“You were quite wise,” say I, laying my hand on the back of his chair; “you had much the best of it! they were a great imposture!”
“Were they?” he says, taking his cigar out of his mouth, and lifting his handsome and severe iron-gray eyes to mine. “They were farther off than you thought, were not they? I began to think you had not been able to find them.”
“Have we been so long?” I say, surprised. “It did not seem long! I suppose we dawdled. We began to talk—bah! it is growing chill! let us go home!”
Mr. Musgrave accompanies us to the entrance to the gardens.
“Good-night, Frank!” cries Sir Roger, as he follows me into the carriage.
As soon as I am in, I recollect that I have ungratefully forgotten to shake hands with my late escort.
“Good-night!” cry I, too, stretching out a compunctious hand, over Sir Roger and the carriage-side. “I am so sorry! I forgot all about you!”
“What hotel are you at?” asks Sir Roger, closing the carriage-door after him. “The Victoria? Oh, yes. We are at the Saxe. You must come and look us up when you have nothing better to do. Our rooms are number—what is it, Nancy? I never can recollect.”
“No. 5.” reply I. “But, indeed, it is not much use any one coming to call upon us, is it? For we are always out—morning, noon, and night.”
With this parting encouragement on my part, we drive off, and leave our young friend trying, with only moderate success, to combine a gracious smile to Sir Roger, with a resentful scowl at me, under a lamp-post. We roll along quickly and easily, through the soft, cool, lamplit night.
“Well, how did you get on with him, Nancy?” asks Sir Roger. “Good-looking fellow, is not he?”
“Is he?” say I, carelessly. “Yes, I suppose he is, only that I never can admire dark men: I am so glad that all the boys are fair—I should have hated a black brother.”
“How do you know that my hair was not coal-black before it turned gray?” he asks, with a smile. “It may have been the hue of the carrion-crow for all you know.”
“I am sure it was not,” reply I, stoutly; then, after a little pause, “I do not think that I did get on well with him—not what I call getting on—he seems rather a touchy young gentleman.”