“It’s the best room in the house,” she told her. “Master Jeff was born in it, and he’s slept here for the past ten years. You won’t be lonely, my dear. My room is just across the passage, and he has gone to the room at the end which he always had as a boy.”
“This is a lovely room,” said Doris.
She stood where Jeff had stood before the open window and looked across the valley.
“I hope you will be very happy here, my dear,” said Granny Grimshaw behind her.
Doris turned round to her impetuously. “Dear Mrs. Grimshaw, I don’t like Jeff to give up the best room to me,” she said. “Isn’t there another one that I could have?”
She glanced towards a door that led out of the room in which they were.
“Yes, go in, my dear!” said Granny Grimshaw with a chuckle. “It’s all for you.”
Doris opened the door with a quick flush on her cheeks.
“Master Jeff thought you would like a little sitting-room of your own,” said the old woman behind her.
“Oh, he shouldn’t. He shouldn’t!” Doris said.
She stood on the threshold of a sunny room that overlooked the garden with its hedge of lavender and beyond it the orchard with its wealth of ripe apples shining in the sun. The room had been evidently furnished for her especial use. There was a couch in one corner, a cottage piano in another, and a writing-table near the window.
“The old master bought those things for his bride,” said Granny Grimshaw. “They are just as good as new yet, and Master Jeff has had the piano put in order for you. I expect you know how to play the piano, my dear?”
Doris went forward into the room. The tears were not far from her eyes. “He is too good to me. He is much too good,” she said.
“Ah, my dear, and you’ll be good to him too, won’t you?” said Granny Grimshaw coaxingly.
“I’ll do my best,” said Doris quietly.
She went down to Jeff in the stable-yard a little later with a heart brimming with gratitude, but that strange, new shyness was with her also. She did not know how to give him her thanks.
He was waiting for her, and escorted her across to the stable. “You will like to see your mount,” he said, cutting her short almost before she had begun.
She followed him into the stable. Jeff’s own mare poked an inquiring nose over the door of her loose-box. Doris stopped to fondle her. Jeff plunged a hand into his pocket and brought out some sugar.
From the stall next to them came a low whinny. Doris, in the act of feeding the mare, looked up sharply. The next moment with a little cry she had sprung forward and was in the stall with her arms around the neck of its occupant—a big bay, who nozzled against her shoulder with evident pleasure.
“Oh, Hector! Hector!” she cried. “However did you come here?”
“I bought him,” said Jeff, “as a wedding present.”