“Mr. Yeovil has arrived, madam.”
“Bother,” said Ronnie sulkily. “Now you’ll cool off about that supper party, and turn down Gorla and the rest of us.”
It was certainly true that the supper already seemed a more difficult proposition in Cicely’s eyes than it had a moment or two ago.
“’You’ll not forget
my only daughter,
E’en though Saphia has crossed the sea,’”
quoted Tony, with mocking laughter in his voice and eyes.
Cicely went down to greet her husband. She felt that she was probably very glad that he was home once more; she was angry with herself for not feeling greater certainty on the point. Even the well-beloved, however, can select the wrong moment for return. If Cicely Yeovil’s heart was like a singing-bird, it was of a kind that has frequent lapses into silence.
Murrey Yeovil got out of the boat-train at Victoria Station, and stood waiting, in an attitude something between listlessness and impatience, while a porter dragged his light travelling kit out of the railway carriage and went in search of his heavier baggage with a hand-truck. Yeovil was a grey-faced young man, with restless eyes, and a rather wistful mouth, and an air of lassitude that was evidently only a temporary characteristic. The hot dusty station, with its blended crowds of dawdling and scurrying people, its little streams of suburban passengers pouring out every now and then from this or that platform, like ants swarming across a garden path, made a wearisome climax to what had been a rather wearisome journey. Yeovil glanced quickly, almost furtively, around him in all directions, with the air of a man who is constrained by morbid curiosity to look for things that he would rather not see. The announcements placed in German alternatively with English over the booking office, left-luggage office, refreshment buffets, and so forth, the crowned eagle and monogram displayed on the post boxes, caught his eye in quick succession.
He turned to help the porter to shepherd his belongings on to the truck, and followed him to the outer yard of the station, where a string of taxi-cabs was being slowly absorbed by an outpouring crowd of travellers.
Portmanteaux, wraps, and a trunk or two, much be-labelled and travel-worn, were stowed into a taxi, and Yeovil turned to give the direction to the driver.
“Twenty-eight, Berkshire Street.”
“Berkschirestrasse, acht-und-zwanzig,” echoed the man, a bulky spectacled individual of unmistakable Teuton type.
“Twenty-eight, Berkshire Street,” repeated Yeovil, and got into the cab, leaving the driver to re-translate the direction into his own language.
A succession of cabs leaving the station blocked the roadway for a moment or two, and Yeovil had leisure to observe the fact that Viktoria Strasse was lettered side by side with the familiar English name of the street. A notice directing the public to the neighbouring swimming baths was also written up in both languages. London had become a bi-lingual city, even as Warsaw.