He smiled a little, after a fashion she did not wholly comprehend. “My dear Lady Carfax! You underrate friendship when you say a thing like that. Sit down, won’t you? And let me tell you what brought me here.”
“Nap told you—” she hazarded.
“Yes, Nap told me. And I decided I had better come at once. I wasn’t in when he got back, or I should have been here sooner. I saw there had been a gross misunderstanding, and I hoped I should be able to get your husband to take a reasonable view.”
“Ah!” she said, with a shiver. “I—I’m thankful you didn’t meet.”
“I am sorry,” Lucas said quietly. And though he said no more, she knew that he was thinking of her.
“How is Nap?” she ventured hesitatingly.
“Nap,” he said with deliberation, “will be himself again in a very few weeks. You need have no anxiety for him.”
Again she did not wholly understand his tone. She glanced at him nervously, half afraid that he was keeping something from her.
“You really mean that?”
His eyes met hers, very level and direct. “He is badly battered, of course. But—he is not quite like other men. He has no nerves to speak of in a physical sense. He will make a quick recovery. Broken bones mean very little to a man of his calibre.”
She heard him with relief mingled with a faint wonder at his confidence on this point.
“The doctor has seen him?” she asked.
“Yes; and I have sent my man in the motor to ask him to come on here.”
She shivered again irrepressibly. “Giles hates Dr. Randal.”
“I do not think that will make any difference,” Lucas said gently.
Thereafter they sat together almost in silence, till the buzzing of the motor told of the doctor’s arrival. Then with the aid of a stick Lucas began to drag himself laboriously to his feet. Anne rose to help him.
He took her arm, looking at her shrewdly.
“Lady Carfax, will you let me speak to him alone?”
“If you wish it,” she said.
“I do wish it.” His eyes passed hers suddenly and rested upon the lace at her neck. In one place it was torn, and the soft flesh was revealed; revealed also was a long red stripe, swollen and turning. In an instant his glance fell, but she saw his brows contract as if at a sharp twinge of pain. “I do wish it,” he said again very gently. “P’r’aps you will wait for me here.”
And with that he relinquished her arm, and made his halting, difficult way across the room to the door.
Anne sat down before the fire to wait. She had, to a large extent, recovered her self-control, but a deadly weariness was upon her which she found it impossible to shake off. She kept it at bay for a time while she listened for any sound. But no sound came, and at length exhausted nature prevailed.
When Lucas came back she was sunk in her chair asleep.