But why think of stealing purses so late at night? No doubt merely because it was late at night. Peter curled himself up and drew the sheet over his ears and sighed sleepily. He seemed to hear the rich, pleasant echoes of Peggy’s best nursery voice far off, and Hilary’s high, plaintive tones rising above it.
But above both, dominant and insistent, murmured the lapping voice of the wonderful city at night. A faint rhythm of snoring beyond a thin wall somehow suggested Mrs. Johnson, and Peter laughed into his pillow.
On the shores of the Lido, three days later, Peter and Leslie came upon Denis Urquhart. He was lying on the sand in the sun on the Adriatic side, and building St. Mark’s, rather well. Peter stood and looked at it critically.
“Not bad. But you’d better let us help you. We’ve been studying the original exhaustively, Leslie and I.”
“A very fine and remarkable building,” said Leslie, ponderously, and Peter laughed for the sheer pleasure of seeing Urquhart’s lazy length stretched on the warm sand.
“Cheriton’s somewhere about,” said Urquhart. “But he wouldn’t help me with St. Mark’s. He was all for walking round the island at a great pace and seeing how long it took him. So superfluously energetic, isn’t he? Fancy being energetic in Venice.”
Peter was thankful that he was. The thought of Cheriton’s eyes upon him made him shudder.
“He has his good points,” Urquhart added; “but he excites himself too much. Always taking up some violent crusade against something or other. Can’t live and let live. Another dome here, I think.”