“I shall not go away from here,” Hamel said firmly, “at present. Mind, I am not at all sure that, living this solitary life as you do, you have not become a little over-nervous; that you have not exaggerated the fear of some things. To me your uncle seems merely quixotic and egregiously selfish. However that may be, I am going to remain.” She clutched once, more at his arm, her finger was upraised. They listened together. From somewhere behind them came the clear, low wailing of a violin.
“It is Mr. Fentolin,” she whispered. “Please come in; let us go in at once. He only plays when he is excited. I am afraid! Oh, I am afraid that something is going to happen!”
She was already round the corner and on her way to the main terrace. He followed her closely.
“Let us follow the example of all great golfers,” Hamel said. “Let us for this morning, at any rate, imagine that your whole world is encompassed within these eighteen holes. We have been sent here in a moment of good humour by your tyrant uncle. The sun shines, and the wind is from the west. Why not?”
“That is all very well for you,” she retorted, smiling, “but I have topped my drive.”
“Purely an incident,” he assured her. “The vicissitudes of the game do not enter into the question. I have driven a ball far above my usual form, but I am not gloating over it. I prefer to remember only that I am going to spend the next two hours with you.”
She played her shot, and they walked for a little way together. She was suddenly silent.
“Do you know,” she said finally, just a little gravely, “I am not at all used to speeches of this sort.”
“Then you ought to be,” he declared. “Nothing but the lonely life you have been living has kept you from hearing them continually.”
She laughed a little at the impotence of her rebuff and paused for a moment to make her next shot. Hamel, standing a little on one side, watched her appraisingly. Her short, grey tweed skirt was obviously the handiwork of an accomplished tailor. Her grey stockings and suede shoes were immaculate and showed a care for her appearance which pleased him. Her swing, too, revealed a grace, the grace of long arms and a supple body, at which previously he had only guessed. The sunshine seemed to have brought out a copper tinge from her abundant brown hair.
“Do you know,” he remarked, “I think I am beginning to like your uncle. Great idea of his, sending us off here directly after breakfast.”
Her face darkened for a moment, and he realised his error. The same thought, indeed, had been in both their minds. Mr. Fentolin’s courteous suggestion had been offered to them almost in the shape of a command. It was scarcely possible to escape from the reflection that he had desired to rid himself of their presence for the morning.