“I thought you were a ghost, you see.”
“And I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I asked him what he meant by following us here, and it turned out that it was we who had followed him, and turned him out of his cottage moreover.”
“Deuced odd!” said Charles Svendt, screwing in his eye-glass and regarding them comprehensively. “Almost makes one believe in—er—”
“Telepathy and that kind of thing,” said Miss Penny.
“Er—exactly—just so, don’t you know!” and his glance rested on her with appreciation as upon a kindred soul.
Charles Svendt dined with them that evening, and in the process developed heights and depths of genial common-sense which quite surprised some among them.
They took him for a stroll up to the Eperquerie in the cool of the gloaming, and showed him more shooting stars than ever he had seen in his life, and a silver sickle of a moon, and a western sky still smouldering with the afterglow of a crimson and amber sunset, and he acknowledged that, from some points of view, Sark had advantages over Throgmorton Street.
In the natural course of things, Margaret and Graeme walked together, and since they could not go four abreast among the gorse cushions, Charles Svendt and Miss Penny had to put up with one another, and seemed to get on remarkably well. More than once Graeme squeezed Margaret’s arm within his own and chuckled, as he heard the animated talk and laughter from the pair behind.
“I’m very glad he’s taken a sensible view of the matter,” said Margaret.
“Oh, Charles Svendt is no fool, and he certainly would have been if he’d done anything but what he has done. He saw that he could do no good and might get into trouble. The Seigneur scowled dungeons and gibbets at him, and he looked decidedly uncomfortable.”
“I will tender the Seigneur my very best thanks the first time I see him.”
When the men had seen the ladies home, they strolled up the garden to the Red House for a final smoke.
“Say, Graeme, I’ve been wondering what you’d have done if I’d played mule and persisted in kicking up my heels in church. I asked Miss Penny—and, by Jove, I tell you, that’s about as sensible a girl as I’ve met for a long time—”
“Miss Penny is an extremely clever girl and an exceptionally fine character. Good family too. Her father was the Brigadier-General Penny who was killed in Afghanistan.”
“She’s an M.A., and she’s worked like a slave to educate her brothers and sisters, and they’re all turning out well. I don’t know any girl, except Meg, of whom I think so highly as Hennie Penny.”
“Well now,” said Pixley presently. “As a matter of information, what was in your mind to do if I’d gone on?”
“You’d never have got as far as the church, my boy.”