The gigantic hen screamed in delirious death agony.
“Oh, good heavens, that noise!” She stepped to the window and opened the casement. “Tony! That noise! Tony, for goodness’ sake!”
An extravagantly long motor car was drawn against the curb. Lord Tybar, in a dust coat and a sleek bowler hat of silver grey, sat in the driver’s seat. He was industriously and without cessation winding the handle of the siren. An uncommonly pretty woman sat beside him. She was massed in furs. In her ears she held the index finger of each hand, her elbows sticking out on each side of her head. Thus severally occupied, she and Lord Tybar made an unusual picture, and a not inconsiderable proportion of the youth and citizens of Tidborough stood round the front of the car and enjoyed the unusual picture that they made.
The spectators looked up at Nona’s call; Lord Tybar ceased the handle and looked up with his engaging smile; the uncommonly pretty woman removed her fingers from her ears and also turned upwards her uncommonly pretty face.
“Hullo!” called Lord Tybar. “Did you happen to hear my sighs?”
“That appalling noise!” said Nona. “You ought to be prosecuted!”
“If you’d had it next to you!” piped the uncommonly pretty lady in an uncommonly pretty voice. “It’s like a whole ship being seasick together.”
“It’s nothing of the kind,” protested Lord Tybar. “It’s the plaintive lament of a husband entreating his wife.” He directed his eyes further backward. “Good morning, Mr. Fortune. Did you recognize my voice calling my wife? There were tears in it. Perhaps you didn’t.”
“Good lord,” said Sabre, “there’s old Fortune at his window. I’ll come down with you, Nona.”
As they went down he asked her, “Who’s that with him in the car?”
“One of his friends. Staying with us.”
Something in her voice made it—afterwards—occur to him as odd that she spoke of one of “his”, not one of “our” friends, and did not mention her name.
“Well, the whole of Tidborough knows where you’ve been, Nona,” Lord Tybar greeted them. “And a good place too.” He addressed the lady by his side. “Puggo, look at those pulpits and things in the window. You never go to church. It’ll do you good. That’s a pulpit, that tall thing. They preach from that.”
The lady remarked, “Thanks. I can remember it. At least I was married in a church, you know.”
“And, of course,” said Nona, “you always remember you’re married, don’t you?”
Sabre glanced quickly at her. Her tone cut across the frivolous exchanges with an acid note. So utterly unlike Nona!
And the thing was real, not imagined; and went further. The uncommonly pretty woman addressed as Puggo replied, “Oh, always. And so do you, don’t you, dear?” and her uncommonly pretty eyes went in a quick glance from Nona’s face to Sabre’s, where they hovered the fraction of a moment, and thence to Lord Tybar’s where also they hovered, and smiled.