“Of course,” she began, “if you really think that I don’t know the difference between the report of a pistol and a rifle shot—”
He interrupted her.
“I was wrong,” he confessed. “Forgive me. You see, my head was a little turned. Some one did deliberately fire at me, and I believe it was from a grey racing-car. I couldn’t see who was driving it and it was out of sight almost at once.”
“But I never heard of such a thing!” she exclaimed. “Why on earth should they fire at you? You haven’t any enemies, have you?”
“Not that I know of,” he assured her.
She stepped from the car and came lightly over to his side.
“Take your handkerchief away,” she ordered. “Don’t be foolish. You forget that I am a certificated nurse.”
He raised his handkerchief and she looked for a moment at the long scar. Her face grew serious.
“Another half-inch,” she murmured,—“Hugh, what an abominable thing! A deliberate attempt at murder here, at nine o’clock in the morning, in the Park! I can’t understand it.”
“Well, I’ve been under fire before,” he remarked, smiling.
“Get into my car at once,” she directed. “I’ll drive you to a chemist’s and put something on that. You can’t go about as you are, and it will have healed up then in a day or two.”
He obeyed at once and she drove off.
“Of course, I’m a little bewildered about it still,” she went on. “I suppose you ought to go to the police-station. It was really a deliberate attempt at assassination, wasn’t it? If you had been—”
She paused and he completed her sentence with a humorous twinkle in his eyes.
“If I had been a person of importance, eh? Well, you see, even I must have been in somebody’s way.”
She drove in silence for some little distance.
“Hugh,” she asked abruptly, “why did the War Office send you down to Market Burnham after that Zeppelin raid?”
His face was suddenly immovable. He turned his head very slightly.
“Did Granet tell you that?”
“Captain Granet came to see me yesterday afternoon. He seemed as much surprised as I was. You were a little hard on him, weren’t you?”
“I think not!”
“But why were you sent down?” she persisted. “I can’t imagine what you have to do with a Zeppelin raid.”
He shrugged his shoulders.
“I really don’t think it is worth while your bothering about the bandage,” he said.
“Hugh, you make me so angry!” she exclaimed. “Of course, you may say that I haven’t the right to ask, but still I can’t see why you should be so mysterious. . . . Here’s the chemist’s. Now come inside with me, please.”
He followed her obediently into the shop at the top of Trafalgar Square. She dressed his wound deftly and adjusted a bandage around his head.
“If you keep that on all day,” she said, “I think—but I forgot. I was treating you like an ordinary patient. Don’t laugh at me, sir. I am sure none of your professional nurses could have tied that up any better.”