The girl was for a moment almost good-looking. Her eyes glowed, her tone was eloquently appealing.
“You’ll come by and see us, won’t you?” she begged.
“If I may, I’d be delighted,” Granet promised heartily. “When are you going back?”
“To-morrow. You’re quite sure that you’ll come?”
“I shall come all right,” Granet assured her. “I’m not so keen on golf as some of the fellows, and my arm’s still a little dicky, but I’m fed up with London, and I’m not allowed even to come before the Board again for a fortnight, so I rather welcome the chance of getting right away. The links are good, I suppose?”
“Wonderful,” Miss Worth agreed eagerly, “and I think the club-house is very comfortable. There are often some quite nice men staying there. If only father weren’t so awfully peculiar, the place would be almost tolerable in the season. That reminds me,” she went on, with a little sigh, “I must warn you about father. He’s the most unsociable person that ever lived.”
“I’m not shy,” Granet laughed. “By-the-bye, pardon me, but isn’t your father the Sir Meyville Worth who invents things? I’m not quite sure what sort of things,” he added. “Perhaps you’d better post me up before I come?”
“I sha’n’t tell you a thing.” Isabel Worth declared. “Just now it’s very much better for you to know nothing whatever about him. He has what I call the inventors’ fidgets, for some reason or other. If a strange person comes near the place he simply loses his head.”
“Perhaps I sha’n’t be welcome, then?” Granet remarked disconsolately.
There was a flash in the girl’s eyes as she answered him.
“I can assure you that you will, Captain Granet,” she said. “If father chooses to behave like a bear, well, I’ll try and make up for him.”
She glanced at him impressively and Granet bowed. A few minutes later in obedience to Lady Anselman’s signal, they all made their way into the lounge, where coffee was being served. Granet made his way to Geraldine’s side but she received him a little coldly.
“I have been doing my aunt’s behests,” he explained. “My strict orders were to make myself agreeable to a young woman who lives in a sort of bluebeard’s house, where no visitors are allowed and smiling is prohibited.”
Geraldine looked across at Isabel Worth.
“I never met Miss Worth before,” she said. “I believe her father is wonderfully clever. Did I hear you say that you were going out of town?”
“I am going away for a few days. I am going away,” he added, dropping his voice, “ostensibly for a change of air. I have another reason for going.”
He looked at her steadfastly and she forgot her vague misgivings of a few minutes ago. After all, his perceptions were right. It was better for him to leave London for a time.
“I hope the change will do you good,” she said quietly. “I think, perhaps, you are right to go.”