“And a little censorious, I am afraid,” Granet added with a slight grimace. “I suppose he thinks I am a garrulous sort of ass but I really can’t see why he needed to go for your brother last night just because he was gratifying a very reasonable curiosity on my part. It isn’t as though I wasn’t in the Service. The Army and the Navy are the same thing, any way, and we are always glad to give a Navy man a hint as to how we are getting on.”
“I really couldn’t quite understand Major Thomson myself,” she agreed.
“May I ask—do you mind?” he began,—“have you been engaged to him long?”
She looked away for a moment. Her tone, when she replied, was meant to convey some slight annoyance at the question.
“About three months.”
Captain Granet kicked a pebble away from the path in front of him with his sound foot.
“I should think he must be a very good surgeon,” he remarked in a measured tone. “Looks as though he had lots of nerve, and that sort of thing. To tell you the truth, though, he rather frightens me. I don’t think that he has much sympathy with my type.”
She became a little more indulgent and smiled faintly as she looked at him.
“I wonder what your type is?” she asked reflectively.
“Fairly obvious, I am afraid,” he confessed, with a sigh. “I love my soldiering, of course, and I am ashamed to think how keen I have been on games, and should be still if I had the chance. Outside that I don’t read much, I am not musical, and I am very much predisposed to let the future look after itself. There are thousands just like me,” he continued thoughtfully. “We don’t do any particular harm in the world but I don’t suppose we do much good.”
“Don’t be silly,” she protested. “For one thing, it is splendid to be a capable soldier. You are just what the country wants to-day. But apart from that I am quite sure that you have brains.”
“Have I?” he murmured. “Perhaps it’s the incentive I lack.”
They were silent for a few moments. Then they began to talk more lightly. They discussed dogs and horses, their mutual friends, and their engagements for the next few days. They did not once refer to Thomson. Presently Geraldine paused to speak to some friends. Granet leaned upon his stick in the background and watched her. She was wearing a plain tailor made suit and a becoming little hat, from underneath which little wisps of golden hair had somehow detached themselves in a fascinating disorder. There was a delicate pink colour in her cheeks, the movements and lines of her body were all splendidly free and graceful. As she talked to her friends her eyes for the moment seemed to have lost their seriousness. Her youth had reasserted itself—her youth and splendid physical health. He watched her eagerly, and some shadow seemed to pass from his own face—the shadow of his suffering or his pain. He, too, seemed to grow younger. The simplest and yet the most wonderful joy in life was thrilling him. At last she bade farewell to her friends and came smiling towards him.