“They tell me,” she continued pensively, “that Englishmen more than any other men in the world have the flair for saying convincingly the things which they do not mean.”
“In my case, that would not be true,” he answered. “My trouble is that I dare not say one half of what I feel.”
She looked across the table at him, and Nigel suddenly felt a great weight of depression lifted from his heart. He forgot all about his country’s peril. Life and its possibilities seemed somehow all different. He was carried away by a rare wave of emotion.
“Naida!” he whispered.
Her eyes were soft and expectant. Something of the gravity had gone from her face. She was like a girl, suddenly young with new thoughts.
“You know what I am going to say to you?”
“Do not say it yet, please,” she begged. “Somehow it seems to me that the time has not come, though the thought of what may be in your heart is wonderful. I want to dream about it first,” she went on. “I want to think.”
He laughed, a strange sound almost to his own ears, for Nigel, since his uncle’s death, had tasted the very depths of depression.
“I obey,” he agreed. “It is well to dally with the great things. Meanwhile, they grow.”
She smiled across at him.
“I hope that they may,” she answered. “And you will ask me to lunch again?”
“Lunch or dine or walk or motor—whatever you will,” he promised.
She reflected for a moment and then laughed. She was drawing on her gloves now, and Nigel was paying the bill.
“There are some people who will not like this,” she said.
“And one,” he declared, “for whom it is going to make life a Paradise.”
They passed out into the street and strolled leisurely westwards. As they crossed Trafalgar Square, a stream of newsboys from the Strand were spreading in all directions. Nigel and his companion seemed suddenly surrounded by placards, all with the same headlines. They paused to read:
TRIUMPH OF THE CHANCELLOR
HUGE REDUCTION OF THE NATIONAL DEBT
TOTAL ABOLITION OF THE INCOME TAX
They walked on. Naida said nothing, although she shook her head a little sorrowfully. Nigel glanced across the Square and down towards Westminster.
“They will shout themselves hoarse there this afternoon,” he groaned.
For the first time she betrayed her knowledge of coming events.
“It is amazing,” she whispered, “for the writing on the wall is already there.”