“No,” said Mrs Bosenna, rising. “The rain has stopped, and it’s time we were getting home, between the showers.”
Again Captain Cai and Captain ’Bias offered gallantly to accompany her to the gate of Rilla Farm; but she would have none of their escort.
“No one is going to insult me on the road,” she assured them. “And besides, if they did, Dinah would do the screaming. That’s why I brought her.”
She had enjoyed her evening amazingly. She took her departure with a few happily chosen words which left no doubt of it.
After divesting himself of his coat that night, Captain Cai laid a hand on his upper arm and felt it timidly. Unless he mistook, the flesh beneath the shirt-sleeve yet kept some faint vibration of Mrs Bosenna’s hand, resting upon it, thrilling it.
“The point is,” said Cai to himself, “it can’t be ’Bias, anyway. I felt pretty sure at the time that Philp was lyin’. But what a brazen fellow it is!”
Strangely enough, in his bedroom on the other side of the party wall Captain ’Bias stood at that moment deep in meditation. He, too, was rubbing his arm, just below the biceps.
Yet the explanation is simple. You have only to bethink you that Mrs Bosenna, like any other woman, had two hands.
MRS BOSENNA PLAYS A PARLOUR GAME.
“We have runned out simultaneous,” announced Mrs Bowldler next morning, as the two friends sat at breakfast in Captain Cai’s parlour, each immersed (or pretending to be immersed) in his own newspaper. They had slept but indifferently, and on meeting at table had avoided, as if by tacit consent, allusions to last night’s entertainment. Each of the newspapers contained a full-column report of the Regatta, with its festivities, which gave excuse for silence. With a thrill of innocent pleasure Cai saw his own name in print. He harked back to it several times in the course of his perusal, and confessed to himself that it looked very well.
But Mrs Bowldler, too, had slept indifferently, if her eyes—which were red and tear-swollen—might be taken as evidence. Her air, as she brought in the dishes, spoke of sorrow rather than of anger. Finding that it attracted no attention, she sighed many times aloud, and at each separate entrance let fall some gloomy domestic news, dropping it as who should say, “I tell you, not expecting to be believed or even heeded, still less applauded for any vigilant care of your interests, but rather that I may not hereafter reproach myself.”
“We have runned out simultaneous,” she repeated as Captain Cai glanced up from the newspaper. “Which I refer to coals. Palmerston tells me there’s not above two-and-a-half scuttlefuls in either cellar, search them how you will.” (The search at any rate could not be extensive, since the cellars measured 8 feet by 4 feet apiece.)