“Mrs. Cricklander would be very much amused could she hear this verdict of the county,” he said with a certain tone in his voice which did not escape Halcyone. “In London we do not occupy ourselves with such unimportant things—but I dare say she will get over it. And now I really must be going back. May I walk with you through the park, Miss Halcyone, if you are going, too? I am sure there must be an opening somewhere, as the two places touch.”
“Yes, there is just one,” Halcyone said. “The haw-haw runs the whole way, and it is impossible to pass, except in the one spot, and I believe no one knows of it but myself. There are a few bricks loose, and I used to take them out and put them back when I wanted to get into Wendover—long ago.”
“Then it will be an adventure; come,” he said, and Halcyone rose.
“Only if you will not give away my secret. Promise you will not tell anyone else,” she bargained.
“Oh! I promise,” and John Derringham jumped up—his movements were always quick and decided and full of nervous force. “I will bring my hostess to see you on Monday or Tuesday, Master,” he announced, as he said good-by. “And prepare yourself to fall at her feet like all the rest of us—Merlin and Vivien, you know. It will be a just punishment for your scathing remarks.”
When they were outside in the garden Halcyone spoke not a word. The beds were a glory of spring bulbs, and every bud on the trees was bursting with its promise of coming leaf. Glad, chirruping bird-notes called to one another, and a couple of partridges ran across the lawn.
John Derringham took in the lines of Halcyone’s graceful person as she walked ahead. She had that same dignity of movement from the hips which the Nike of Samothrace seems to be advancing with as you come up the steps of the Louvre.
How tall she had grown! She must be at least five feet nine or ten. But why would she not speak?
He overawed her here in the daylight, and she felt silent and oppressed.
“Whereabouts is our tree that we sat in when I was young and you were old?” he asked, after they had got through the gap in the hedge. A little gate had been put in the last years to keep out the increasing herd of deer.