“There was father to be considered,” she went on. “He was furious at first—”
“You told your father?” he interrupted.
“I had to,” she explained, smoothing her muff. “He was there all the time that Thomson man was cross-examining me.”
“Then your father believes in our engagement, too?”
“He does,” she answered drily, “or I am afraid you would have heard a little more from Major Thomson before now. Ever since that night, father has been quite impossible to live with. He says he has to being a part of his work all over again.”
“The bombs really did do some damage, then?” he asked.
She nodded, looking at him for a moment curiously.
“Yes,” she acknowledged, “they did more harm than any one knows. The place is like a fortress now. They say that if they can find the other man who helped to light that flare, he will be shot in five minutes.”
Granet, who had been standing with his elbow upon the mantelpiece, leaned over and took a cigarette from a box.
“Then, for his sake, let us hope that they do not find him,” he remarked.
“And ours,” she said softly.
Granet stood and looked at her steadfastly, the match burning in his fingers. Then he threw it away and lit another. The interval had been full of unadmitted tension, which suddenly passed.
“Shall you think I am horribly greedy,” she asked, “if I say that I should like something to eat? I am dying of hunger.”
Granet for a moment was startled. Then he moved towards the bell.
“How absurd of me!” he exclaimed. “Of course, you have just come up, haven’t you?”
“I have come straight from the station here,” she replied.
“Where are you staying, then?”
She shook her head.
“I don’t know yet,” she admitted.
“You don’t know?” he repeated.
She met his gaze without flinching. There was a little spot of colour in her cheeks, however, and her lips quivered.
“You see,” she explained, “things became absolutely impossible for me at Market Burnham. I won’t say that they disbelieved me—not my father, at any rate—but he seems to think that it was somehow my fault—that if you hadn’t been there that night the thing wouldn’t have happened. I am watched the whole of the time, in fact not a soul has said a civil word to me—since you left. I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I packed up this morning and I came away without saying a word to any one.”
Granet glanced at the clock. It was a quarter past ten.
“Well, the first thing to do is to get you something to eat,” he said; ringing the bell. “Do you mind having something here or would you like to go to a restaurant?”
“I should much prefer having it here,” she declared. “I am not fit to go anywhere, and I am tired.”
He rang the bell and gave Jarvis a few orders. The girl stood up before the glass, took off her hat and smoothed her hair with her hands. She had the air of being absolutely at home.