“Now, let us sit down and talk it over quietly. In the first place, I propose that on Monday, when you leave Lord Haverley’s, you shall both come here for a time. The Solent will be very pleasant for the next fortnight, and we can then take a fortnight’s cruise west, and, if you like, land at Plymouth, and go straight home.”
“I should be very glad,” Lady Greendale said at once, rejoiced at the thought that she would thus avoid the necessity of answering any questions about Bertha; “and there will be no occasion at all to speak of this at my cousin’s. There might be all sorts of questions asked, and expressions of surprise, and so on. It will be quite time enough to write to our friends after we have been comfortably settled at home for a time. We can talk over all that afterwards.”
“Yes, and I should think, Lady Greendale, that it would save the trouble of two letters if, while mentioning that Bertha is engaged to your neighbour, Major Mallett, you could add that the marriage will come off in the course of a few weeks.
“Don’t you think so, Bertha?”
“Certainly not,” she said, saucily. “It will be quite time to talk about that a long time hence.”
“Well, I will put off talking about it for a short time, but, you see, I have had a year’s waiting already.”
Very pleasant was the three hours’ cruise. No one gave a thought of the missing topmast and bowsprit. There was a nice sailing breeze, and, clipped as her wings were, the Osprey was still faster than the majority of the yachts.
As soon as the two ladies had been put ashore, Frank sailed for Cowes. It was too late when they got there for anything to be done that evening, but Frank went ashore with the captain, and found that the spars were all ready to receive the iron work and sheaves from the old ones; and as these had been towed up to the yard to be in readiness, Messieurs White promised that they would arrange for a few hands to come to work early, and that the spars should be brought off by half-past eight on Monday morning.
As soon as he had returned in the gig, after putting the ladies ashore at Ryde, Frank had called George Lechmere to him.
“It is all right, George, thanks to your interview with Miss Greendale. It was a bold step to take, but it was the best possible thing, and succeeded splendidly, and everything is to be as I wish it.”
“I am glad, indeed, to hear it, Major, and I hoped that you would have something of the sort to tell me. There was a look about you both that I took to mean that things were going on well.”
“Yes, George. At first, when she told me that you had told her about that affair at Delhi, I felt that there was really no occasion for you to have said anything about it; but it did me a great deal of good. She made much more of it than there was any occasion for; but, you know, when women are inclined to take a pleasant view of a thing, they will magnify molehills into mountains.”