“Was that some one wanting to come and see you at this time of night, Geraldine?” she asked.
“It’s Hugh,” she explained. “He has rung up from the War Office or somewhere—says he has just got back from France and wants to see me at once. I think he might have waited till to-morrow morning. I can scarcely keep my eyes open, I am so sleepy.”
Lady Conyers glanced at the clock.
“It isn’t really so late,” she remarked, “and I dare say, if the poor man’s been travelling all day, he’d like to say good-night to you.”
Geraldine made a little grimace.
“I shall go into the morning room and wait for him,” she announced. “He’ll very likely find me asleep.”
The Admiral looked up from behind the Times.
“Where’s that nice young fellow Granet?” he asked. “Why didn’t you bring him in to dinner?”
“Well, we didn’t get back until nearly eight,” Geraldine reminded her father. “I didn’t think he’d have time to change and get back here comfortably.”
“Fine young chap, that,” Sir Seymour remarked. “The very best type of young English soldier. We could do with lots like him.”
Geraldine left the room without remark. She could hear her father rustling his paper as she disappeared.
“Can’t think why Geraldine didn’t pick up with a smart young fellow like Granet instead of an old stick like Thomson,” he grumbled. “I hate these Army Medicals, anyway.”
“Major Thomson has a charming disposition,” Lady Conyers declared warmly. “Besides, he will be very well off some day—he may even get the baronetcy.”
“Who cares about that?” her husband grunted. “Geraldine has all the family she needs, and all the money. How she came to choose Thomson from all her sweethearts, I can’t imagine.”
Geraldine, notwithstanding her fatigue, welcomed her lover very charmingly when he arrived, a few minutes later. Major Thomson was still in travelling clothes, and had the air of a man who had been working at high pressure for some time. He held her fingers tightly for a moment, without speaking. Then he led her to the sofa and seated himself beside her.
“Geraldine,” he began gravely, “has what I say any weight with you at all?”
“A good deal,” she assured him.
“You know that I do not like Captain Granet, yet you took him with you down to Portsmouth today and even allowed him to accompany you on board the Scorpion.”
Geraldine started a little.
“How do you know that already?” she asked curiously.
He shook his head impatiently.
“It doesn’t matter. I heard. Why did you do it, Geraldine?”
“In the first place, because he offered to motor us down after we had missed the train. There are heaps of other reasons.”
“As, for instance?”
“Well, Olive and I preferred having an escort and Captain Granet was a most agreeable one. He took us down in a car his uncle has just given him—a sixty horse-power Panhard. I never enjoyed motoring more in my life.”