Anne Carfax sank back in her corner and lay motionless. The glare of the little electric lamp upon her face showed it white and tired. Her eyes were closed.
The man beside her sat bolt upright, his eyes fixed unblinkingly upon the window in front, his jaw set grimly. He held the gloves he had worn all the evening between his hands, and his fingers worked at them unceasingly. He was rending the soft kid to ribbons.
They left the desolate street behind and came into total darkness.
Suddenly, but very quietly, Anne spoke. “This is very kind of you, Mr. Errol.”
He turned towards her. She had opened her eyes to address him, but the lids drooped heavily.
“The kindness is on your side, Lady Carfax,” he said deliberately. “If you manage to inspire it in others, the virtue is still your own.”
She smiled and closed her eyes again. It was evident that she did not desire to talk.
He looked away from her, glanced at his torn gloves, and tossed them impatiently from him.
For ten minutes neither spoke. The car ran smoothly on through the night like an inspired chariot of the gods. There was no sound of wheels. They seemed to be borne on wings.
For ten minutes the man sat staring stonily before him, rigid as a statue, while the woman lay passive by his side.
But at the end of that ten minutes the speed began to slacken. They came softly to earth and stopped.
Errol opened the door and alighted. “Have you a key?” he said, as he gave her his hand.
She stood above him, looking downwards half-dreamily as one emerging from a deep slumber.
“Do you know,” she said, beginning to smile, “I thought that you were the Knave of Diamonds?”
“You’ve been asleep,” he said rather curtly.
She gave a slight shudder as the night air brought her back, and in a moment, like the soft dropping of a veil, her reserve descended upon her.
“I am afraid I have,” she said, “Please excuse me. Are we already at the Manor? Yes, I have the key.”
She took his hand and stepped down beside him.
“Good night, Mr. Errol,” she said. “And thank you.”
He did not offer to accompany her to the door. A light was burning within, and he merely stood till he heard the key turn in the lock, then stepped back into the motor and slammed it shut without response of any sort to her last words.
Anne Carfax was left wondering if her dream had been a cause of offense.
“Oh, bother! It’s cake morning.” Dot Waring turned from the Rectory breakfast-table with a flourish of impatience. “And I do so want to hear all about it,” she said. “You might have come down earlier, Ralph.”
“My good sister,” said the rector’s son, helping himself largely to bread and honey, “consider yourself lucky that I have come down at all after dancing half the night with Mrs. Damer, who is no light weight.”