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Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.

She said, “Perhaps you’re different with your friends.  I hope you are.  With your friends.”

He caught a glint in her eye as she repeated the words.  Its meaning did not occur to him.

He bantered, “Oh, I’m not as bad as all that.  And anyway, the friends are all the same friends.  This place isn’t so big.”

Then that quick glint of her eye was explained—­the flash before the discharge.

“Perhaps your friends are just coming back,” she said.  “Lady Tybar.”

The vision of his dark anger broke away.  Mute while he watched it, immediately it lifted its head and answered her own.  “Look here—­” he began; and stopped.  “Look here,” he said more quietly, “don’t begin that absurd business again.”

“I don’t think it is absurd.”

“No, you called it ‘funny.’”

She drew in her feet as if to arise.  “Yes, and I think it’s funny.  All of it.  I think you’ve been funny all day to-day.  Coming back like that!”

“I told you why I came back.  To have a day off with you.  Funny day off it’s been!  You’re right there!”

“Yes, it has been a funny day off.”

He thought, “My God, this bickering!  Why don’t I get out of the room?”

“Come back for a day off with me!  It’s a funny thing you came back just in time to get that letter!  Before it was delivered!  There!  Now you know!”

He was purely amazed.  He thought, and his amazement was such that, characteristically, his anger left him; he thought, “Well, of all the—!”

But she otherwise interpreted his astonishment.  She thought she had made an advantage and she pressed it.  “Perhaps you knew it was coming?”

“How on earth could I have known it was coming?”

She seemed to pause, to be considering.  “She might have told you.  You might have seen her.”

He said, “As it happens, I did see her.  Not three hours before I came back.”

She seemed disappointed.  She said, “I know you did.  We met Lord Tybar.”

And he thought, “Good lord!  She was trying to catch me.”

She went on, “You never told me you’d met them.  Wasn’t that funny?”

“If you’d just think a little you’d see there was nothing funny about it.  You found the letter so amazingly funny that, to tell you the truth, I’d had about enough of the Tybars.  And I’ve had about enough of them.”

“I daresay you have—­with me.  Perhaps you’ll tell me this—­would you have told me about the letter if I hadn’t seen you get it?”

He thought before he answered and he answered out of his thoughts.  He said slowly, “I—­don’t—­believe—­I—­would.  I wouldn’t.  I wouldn’t because I’d have known perfectly well that you’d have thought it—­funny.”

XII

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