“Perhaps then,” she said, a little vaguely, “I too must be suffering from disappointments. I have never realized—”
We had taken the last turn. My cottage was in sight. To my surprise a man was standing there as though waiting. He turned round as we approached. His face was very pale, and the back of his head was bandaged. He carried his arm, too, in a sling. It was Colonel Mostyn Ray!
MISS MOYAT MAKES A SCENE
Ray was smoking his customary enormous pipe, which he deliberately emptied as Lady Angela and I approached. The sight of him and the significance of his wounds reduced me to a state of astonishment which could find no outlet in words. I simply stood and stared at him. Lady Angela, however, after her first exclamation of surprise, went up and greeted him.
“Why, my dear Mostyn,” she exclaimed, “wherever have you sprung from, and what have you been doing to yourself?”
“I came from London—newspaper train,” he answered.
“And your head and arm?”
“Thrown out of a hansom last night,” he said grimly.
We were all silent for a moment. So far as I was concerned, speech was altogether beyond me. Lady Angela, too, seemed to find something disconcerting in Ray’s searching gaze.
“My welcome,” he remarked quietly, “does not seem to be overpowering.”
Lady Angela laughed, but there was a note of unreality in her mirth.
“You must expect people to be amazed, Mostyn,” she said, “if you treat them to such surprises. Of course I am glad to see you. Have you seen Blenavon yet?”
“I have not been to the house,” he answered. “I came straight here.”
“And your luggage?” she asked.
“Lost,” he answered tersely. “I only just caught the train, and the porter seems to have missed me.”
“You appear to have passed through a complete chapter of mishaps,” she remarked. “Never mind! You must want your lunch very badly, or do you want to talk to Mr. Ducaine?”
“Next to the walk up to the house with you,” he answered, “I think that I want my lunch more than anything in the world.”
Lady Angela smiled her farewells at me, and Ray nodded curtly. I watched them pass through the plantation and stroll across the Park. There was nothing very loverlike in their attitude. Ray seemed scarcely to be glancing towards his companion; Lady Angela had the air of one absorbed in thought. I watched them until they disappeared, and then I entered my own abode and sat down mechanically before the lunch which Grooton had prepared. I ate and drank as one in a dream. Only last night Ray had said nothing about coming to Braster. Yet, there he was, without luggage, with his arm and head bound up. Just like this I expected to see the man whom I had struck last night.