Phil shot upright in amazement.
“Good Heavens, man! She herself?” he ejaculated.
His brother officer nodded, grinning.
“What’s to be done? Send out word that you’re still alive though not too chirpy, and would she like anything to drink on the veranda? I can’t go, you know; I’m not dressed.”
“Don’t be an ass! Clear out and send me my bearer.”
Phil spoke with decision. Since Mrs. Tudor had elected to do this extraordinary thing, it was not for him to refuse to follow her lead. He was too far in her debt, even had he desired to do so.
His bearer, therefore, was dispatched with a courteous message, and when Phil entered the veranda a quarter of an hour later he found her awaiting him there.
“This is awfully kind of you,” he said, as he grasped her outstretched hand. “I was horribly put out about you! You are none the worse?”
“Not a mite,” she assured him. “And you? Your arm?”
He made a face.
“Raleigh was with me half the night, watching for dangerous symptoms; but they didn’t develop. He cauterized my arm as a precaution—a beastly business. He hasn’t been round again yet, but I believe it’s better. Yes, it was a poisonous bite. It would have been the death of me in all probability, but for you. He told me so. I—I’m awfully obliged to you!”
He coloured deeply as he made his clumsy acknowledgments. He did not find it an easy task. As for Audrey, she put out her hands swiftly to stop him.
“Ah, don’t!” she said. “You did a far greater thing for me.” She shuddered and put the matter from her. “I’m sure you ought not to be up,” she went on. “I shouldn’t have waited, only I thought you might feel hurt if I went away after you had sent out word that you would see me. I think I’ll go now. Good-bye!”
There came the jingle of spurs on the veranda, and both started. The colour rose in a great wave to the girl’s face as she saw who it was, but she turned at once to meet the newcomer.
“Oh, Eustace,” she said, “so you are back already from the parade-ground!”
He did not show any surprise at finding her there.
“Yes; just returned,” he said, with no more than a quiet glance at her flushed face.
“How are you, Phil? Had any sleep?”
“Not much,” Phil owned, with unmistakable embarrassment. “But Raleigh says I’m not going to die this time. It was good of you—and Mrs. Tudor—to look in. Won’t you have something? That lazy beast Travers isn’t dressed yet!”
“Oh, yes, he is!” said Travers, appearing at that moment. “I’ll punch your head for you, my boy, when we’re alone! Hullo, Major! Come to see the interesting invalid? You’ll have some breakfast, won’t you? Mrs. Tudor will pour out tea for us.”
But Tudor declined their hospitality briefly but decidedly, and Audrey was obliged to support him.