He paused and seemed to listen, then very quietly released her hand. A curious expression flickered across his face as he did so, and a little chill went through her. It was like the closing of the furnace door.
“I am going,” he said. “But I shall come back—I shall come back.” His smile, sudden and magnetic, gleamed for an instant and was gone.
“Do you remember the missing heart?” he said “There are some things that I never forget.”
And so, without farewell, he turned and left her, moving swiftly and easily over the grass. She heard the jingle of his spurs, but no sound of any footfall as he went.
THE FATAL STREAK
Anne looked up with a start. She had been sitting with closed eyes under the lilac tree.
Dimsdale, discreet and deferential as ever, stood before her.
“Mr. Lucas Errol is here,” he told her, “with another gentleman. I knew your ladyship would wish to be at home to him.”
“Oh, certainly,” she answered, rising. “I am always at home to Mr. Lucas Errol. Please tell him I am coming immediately.”
But she did not instantly follow Dimsdale. She stood instead quite motionless, with her face to the sky, breathing deeply.
When she turned at length she had recovered all her customary serenity. With the quiet dignity peculiar to her, she passed up the garden path, leaving the thrush still singing, singing, singing, behind her.
She found her visitors in the drawing-room, which she entered by the open window. Lucas greeted her with his quiet smile and introduced Capper—“a very great friend of mine, and incidentally the finest doctor in the U.S.A.”
She shook hands with the great man, feeling the small green eyes running over her, and conscious that she blushed under their scrutiny. She wondered why, with a vague feeling of resentment. She also wondered what had moved Lucas to bring him.
As she sat at the tea-table and dispensed hospitality to her guests it was Lucas who kept the conversation going. She thought he seemed in wonderful spirits despite the heavy droop of his eyelids.
Capper sat in almost unbroken silence, studying his hostess so perpetually that Anne’s nerves began to creak at last under the strain.
Quite suddenly at length he set down his cup. “Lady Carfax,” he said abruptly, “I’m told you have a herb garden, and I’m just mad on herbs. Will you take me to see it while Lucas enjoys a much-needed and well-earned rest?”
Anne glanced up in surprise. They were almost the first words he had spoken. Capper was already upon his feet. He stood impatiently cracking his fingers one by one.
She rose. “Of course I will do so with pleasure if Mr. Errol doesn’t mind.”
“Certainly not, Lady Carfax,” smiled Lucas. “I am extremely comfortable. Pray give him what he wants. It is the only way to pacify him.”