At the end of the dinner Councillor Rhys-Jones produced a sensation by rising to propose the health of their host. He referred to the superb heroism of England’s lifeboatmen, and in the name of the Institution thanked Denry for the fifty-three pounds which Denry’s public had contributed to the funds. He said it was a noble contribution and that Denry was a philanthropist. And he called on Councillor Cotterill to second the toast. Which Councillor Cotterill did, in good set terms, the result of long habit. And Denry stammered that he was much obliged, and that really it was nothing.
But when the toasting was finished, Councillor Cotterill lapsed somewhat into a patronising irony, as if he were jealous of a youthful success. And he did not stop at “young man.” He addressed Denry grandiosely as “my boy.”
“This lifeboat—it was just an idea, my boy, just an idea,” he said.
“Yes,” said Denry, “but I thought of it.”
“The question is,” said the Councillor, “can you think of any more ideas as good?”
“Well,” said Denry, “can you?”
With reluctance they left the luxury of the private dining-room, and Denry surreptitiously paid the bill with a pile of sovereigns, and Councillor Rhys-Jones parted from them with lively grief. The other five walked in a row along the Parade in the moonlight. And when they arrived in front of Craig-y-don, and the Cotterills were entering, Ruth, who loitered behind, said to Denry in a liquid voice:
“I don’t feel a bit like going to sleep. I suppose you wouldn’t care for a stroll?”
“I daresay you’re very tired,” she said.
“No,” he replied, “it’s this moonlight I’m afraid of.”
And their eyes met under the door-lamp, and Ruth wished him pleasant dreams and vanished. It was exceedingly subtle.
The next afternoon the Cotterills and Ruth Earp went home, and Denry with them. Llandudno was just settling into its winter sleep, and Denry’s rather complex affairs had all been put in order. Though the others showed a certain lassitude, he himself was hilarious. Among his insignificant luggage was a new hat-box, which proved to be the origin of much gaiety.
“Just take this, will you?” he said to a porter on the platform at Llandudno Station, and held out the new hat-box with an air of calm. The porter innocently took it, and then, as the hat-box nearly jerked his arm out of the socket, gave vent to his astonishment after the manner of porters.