Recovering at length, she went in search of Violet, and found her lounging under the limes in luxurious coolness with a book.
She glanced up from this at Olga’s approach and smiled. There was a sparkle in her eyes that made her very alluring.
“Poor child! How hot you are! People with your complexion never ought to get hot. What have you been doing?”
She stretched a lazy hand of welcome, as Olga subsided upon the grass beside her.
“I’ve been hurrying back,” Olga explained. “I thought you would be lonely.”
“Oh dear, no! Not in the least.” Violet glanced down at her book, a little ruminative smile curving the corners of her red mouth.
Olga peered at the volume. “What is it? Something respectable for once?”
“Not in the least. It is French and very highly flavoured. I daresay you wouldn’t understand it, dear,” said Violet. “You’re such an ingenue.”
Olga made a grimace. “I’d rather not understand some things,” she said bluntly.
Violet uttered a low laugh. “Dear child, you are so unsophisticated! When are you going to grow up?”
“I am grown up,” said Olga. “But I don’t see the use of studying the horrid side of life. I think it’s a waste of time.”
“There we differ,” smiled Violet. “Perhaps, however, it doesn’t matter so much in your case. It is only women who travel and see the world who really need to be upon their guard.”
Olga smiled also at that. “Shall I tell you a secret?” she said.
“Do, dear!” Violet instantly stiffened to attention. The smile went out of her face; Olga almost fancied that she looked apprehensive.
“It’s quite a selfish one,” she said, seeking instinctively to reassure her. “It’s only that—perhaps—when the autumn comes—I may go to India with Nick.”
“Oh! Really! My dear, how thrilling!” The words came with a rush that sounded as if the speaker were wholeheartedly relieved. The smile flashed back into Violet’s face. She lay back in her chair with the indolent grace that usually characterized her movements. “Really!” she said again. “Tell me all about it.”
Olga told her forthwith, painting the prospect in the brilliant colours with which her vivid imagination had clothed it, while Violet listened, interested and amused.
“You’ll remember it’s a secret,” she wound up. “We haven’t heard from Dad or Muriel yet, and of course nothing can be settled till we do. If either should object, of course it won’t come off.”
“Oh, I won’t tell a soul,” Violet promised. “How exciting if you go, Allegro! I wonder if you will get married.”
Olga laughed light-heartedly. “As if I should waste my precious time like that! No, no! If I go, I shall fill up every minute of the time with adventures. I shall go tiger-hunting with Nick, and pig-sticking, and riding, and—oh, scores of things. Besides, they’re nearly all Indians at Sharapura, and one couldn’t marry an Indian!”