“I’ve seen ’em before—plenty of them, too,” he remarked, “but they did rain them down. Then all of a sudden there was a sort of glare—I don’t know what happened. It was just as though some one had lit one of those coloured lights. The Hall was just as clearly visible as at noonday. I could see the men running about, shouting, and the soldiers tumbling out of their quarters. All the time the bombs were coming down like hail and a corner of the Hall was in flames. Then the lighted stuff, whatever it was, burnt out and the darkness seemed as black as pitch. I hung around for some time, looking for Collins. Then I went up to the house to help them extinguish the fire. I didn’t get back till four o’clock.”
“What about Collins?” young Anselman asked. “I was playing him at golf.”
“Better send up and see,” Granet proposed. “I waited till I couldn’t stick it any longer.”
They sent a servant up. The reply came back quickly—Mr. Collins’ bed had not been slept in. Granet frowned a little.
“I suppose he’ll think I let him down,” he said. “I waited at least an hour for him.”
“Was any one hurt by the bombs?” Geoffrey Anselman inquired.
“No one seemed to be much the worse,” Granet replied. “I didn’t think of anything of that sort in connection with Collins, though. Perhaps he might have got hurt.”
“We’ll all go over and have a look for him this afternoon if he hasn’t turned up,” Anselman suggested. “What about playing me a round of golf this morning?”
“Suit me all right,” Granet agreed. “I’d meant to lay up because of my arm, but it’s better this morning. We’ll start early and get back for the papers.”
They motored down to the club-house and played their round. It was a wonderful spring morning, with a soft west wind blowing from the land. Little patches of sea lavender gave purple colour to the marshland. The creeks, winding their way from the sea to the village, shone like quicksilver beneath the vivid sunshine. It was a morning of utter and complete peace. Granet notwithstanding a little trouble with his arm, played carefully and well. When at last they reached the eighteenth green, he holed a wonderful curly putt for the hole and the match.
“A great game,” his cousin declared, as they left the green. “Who the devil are these fellows?”
There were two soldiers standing at the gate, and a military motor-car drawn up by the side of the road. An orderly stepped forward and addressed Granet.
“Captain Granet?” he asked, saluting.
Granet nodded and stretched out his hand for the note. The fingers which drew it from the envelope were perfectly steady, he even lifted his head for a moment to look at a lark just overhead. Yet the few hastily scrawled lines were like a message of fate:—
The officer in command at Market Burnham Hall would be obliged if Captain Granet would favour him with an immediate interview, with reference to the events of last night.