“I’m glad of that. Do you know”—with an introspective look in her eyes—“I’ve an idea—”
“That would be capital. She’d make him an excellent wife.”
“I’m sure she would. She’s just what he needs. She’s as good as gold, and she has more genuine common-sense than anyone I know.”
“Oh, we’re exceptions to all rules. But I do hope something—I mean everything—may come of it. And we would all have reason to bless this blessed little island all our days.”
“Some of us will, anyway. It certainly shall not go unblest.”
On the Tuesday afternoon Graeme received a brief telegram from Charles Pixley—“Crossing tonight.” And Wednesday morning found them all on the sea-wall awaiting the arrival of the steamer from Guernsey.
“There he is—in the front corner of the upper deck—keen to get here as soon as possible, I should say. I know just how he feels,” said Graeme, with a laugh. “Looks a bit different from what he did the first time he came.”
“That’s Mrs. Pixley on the side seat,” said Margaret, and they waved their welcomes.
There were two ladies on the side seat, and both stood up and waved vigorously in reply.
“Why—who—?” began Margaret. And then—excitedly, “Jock—I believe it’s Lady Elspeth. I’m certain it is. It is. It is.”
“Just like her! Hurrah for the Gordons!” and he sent them welcomes which a world full of Pixleys alone could not have excited in him.
“Now this is delightful,” he said, as he sprang on board and rushed at Lady Elspeth.
“All right, my boy! Don’t shake my hand right off, if you can help it. Here, you may give me a kiss, though it’s contrary to the usages of my country. We’ll pretend I’m your mother again. Now say how do you do to Mrs. Pixley. How’s Margaret? I’ve got crows to pick with you young people—”
“Make it seven, or it’s unlucky,” laughed Graeme.
“Tell you later. We’re great believers in crows here. Mrs. Pixley, I am very glad indeed to see you here. Charles, old man, you’ve done splendidly.”
Charles wrung his hand in silence. His face was sober, with a latent glow of expectation in it. When he had seen to the luggage he joined the group on the quay, and it was Miss Penny who was the first to see him coming.
“Welcome back to Sark!” she said cheerfully.
“I’m uncommonly glad to be here. Everybody all right? How’s Mrs. Carre?”
“Everybody’s first-rate, especially Meg and Jock. Their spirits are enough to inflate the island.”
“It’s good to be young,” and the sober mask lifted slightly and let the inner light shine through.
“Go to an hotel?” said Margaret indignantly, in reply to a suggestion from Lady Elspeth. “Indeed you’ll do nothing of the kind,”—and, as the old lady hesitated still,—“If you do I’ll never speak to you again as long as I live.”