“P’r’aps not.” Lucas spoke meditatively. “There’s a good deal to be said for woman’s intuition,” he said.
“It seemed to me a matter of fair play,” maintained Dot. “He didn’t know where Nap was, only his club address. And he wouldn’t write himself, so I just wrote a single line telling Nap that Sir Giles was dead, and sent it off that night. I didn’t tell Bertie. It didn’t seem to matter much then, and I knew it might be ages before Nap got it. But now that that line has brought him back, I feel as if he ought to know—particularly as Bertie is so angry with him for returning. And Anne too—Anne nearly fainted when she saw him. I felt as if I had landed everybody in a hopeless muddle.” Again Dot wiped her eyes. “And I had so wanted him to come,” she ended.
“Don’t fret,” said Lucas very kindly. “I wanted him too.”
She looked at him eagerly. “You think as I do? You think he cares for Anne?”
“I guess so,” he answered, “since your letter brought him back.”
“And—and Anne? Do you think—do you really think—?”
“I guess so,” he said again.
He lay silent for a while, his eyes drooping heavily, till she even began to wonder if he were falling asleep.
At length, “Dot,” he said, “have I your permission to make what use I like of this?”
She gave a slight start. “You are going to tell Bertie?”
He looked at her. “My dear,” he said, “I think Bertie had better know.”
She nodded. “I know he ought. But he will be furious with me.”
“Not if I talk to him,” said Lucas, with his quiet smile.
“But it’s so mean of me,” she protested. “And I’m sure it’s bad for you.”
He reached out his hand to her. “No, it isn’t bad for me, Dot. It’s just the best thing possible. You’ve put me in the way of something great.”
She squeezed his hand. “Do you really think you can make things go right?”
“Under God,” said Lucas gravely.
A FRIENDLY UNDERSTANDING
Notwithstanding Lucas’s assurance, Dot awaited her husband’s coming in undisguised trepidation that night.
She had not seen Nap since that brief glimpse of him in the hall when Anne had so nearly swooned. She did not so much as know if Bertie had seen him at all. They had not met on the previous evening, but Bertie’s aspect had been so thunderous ever since he had heard of his return that she had been on thorns lest he should present himself again at the Dower House. That he would come sooner or later she knew, but she hoped with all her heart that it might not be when Bertie was at home.
She was convinced, moreover, that Bertie was going to be very angry with her, and her heart sank the more she thought of it. Bertie’s anger had become a hard thing to face since he had made her know the depths of his tenderness.