But Olga was holding the two clasped hands in hers, and she would not let them part. “Nick, you’re a darling—a darling! And Max knows it, don’t you, Max? It was dear of you to make the wheels go round. They would never have done it without you, and we shall never, never forget it as long as we two shall live.”
“Amen!” said Max.
“Bless your hearts!” said Nick benevolently. “Well, come and have something to eat!”
He turned towards the door, but Olga hung back. “Is—is Noel here?” she asked.
“Heavens, no!” said Nick. “He eloped with Peggy long ago.”
“Oh!” A note of relief sounded in her voice. “I shall see him to-morrow,” she said.
“Yes, he’ll be over to-morrow.” Nick shot her a swift look in the twilight. “Meantime, I have a message to give you from him,” he said.
“So have I,” cut in Max.
“I know what it is!” said Olga quickly.
“His love,” said Max.
“His best love,” said Nick.
There was an instant’s silence in the room; then Olga bent her head and murmured softly, “God bless him!”
THE LINE OF RETREAT
“No,” said Daisy, with decision. “I shall never like Dr. Wyndham, though I am quite willing to admit that he may be admirable in many ways. He is not my ideal of a nice husband, but then of course—” she dimpled prettily—“I’m only just back from my honeymoon, and I’ve been thoroughly spoilt.”
Will smiled upon her indulgently. “It’s just as well we don’t all like the same people. He looked happy enough anyhow.”
“In his lordly, cynical fashion,” objected Daisy. “He was quite the most self-possessed bridegroom I ever saw.”
“Just as well perhaps,” commented Will. “Olga was positively shaking with nervousness. Dr. Jim went grimly armed with a brandy-flask and smelling-salts.”
“Will, did he really? How like him!”
“Yes. Sir Kersley told me. But he added that it is a well-known fact that brides never faint, so Jim’s precautions were quite unnecessary. He also said—But perhaps it’s hardly fair to tell you that!”
“What?” said Daisy eagerly. “Of course tell me! Tell me at once, Will!”
Will smiled again. “Well, if I must! He told me that Max himself was anything but as serene as he looked and had been dosing with bromide to steady his nerves.”
Daisy broke into a laugh. “No, you certainly shouldn’t have told me that! How mean of Sir Kersley! Still, it’s nice to know that Max is a little human now and then. I shall like him better now. And so I don’t mind telling you something in return. I’ve been making the most discreet enquiries, and I haven’t unearthed the vaguest rumour of that tale Major Hunt-Goring told me. I believe it was all his own invention after all.”
“Very likely,” said Will. “Opium-smokers often get delusions.”