“Not much!” returned young Mallett. “I want a bath!”
“The park,” interrupted Scott excitedly, “is the largest fenced game-preserve in America! It’s only ten minutes to the Sachem’s Gate, if we walk fast.”
“I want a bath and fresh linen.”
“Don’t you care to see the trout? Don’t you want to try to catch a glimpse of a wild boar? I should think you’d be crazy to see——”
“I’m crazy about almost any old thing when I’m well scrubbed; otherwise, I’m merely crazy. That was a wild trip up. I’m all over cinders.”
A woman came quietly out onto the terrace, and Duane instantly divined it, though his back was toward her and her skirts made no sound.
“Oh, is that you, Kathleen?” he cried, pivoting. “How d’ye do?” with a vigorous handshake. “Every time I see you you’re three times as pretty as I thought you were when I last saw you.”
“Neat but involved,” said Kathleen Severn. “You have a streak of cinder across that otherwise fascinating nose.”
“I don’t doubt it! I’m going. Where’s Geraldine?”
“Having her hair done in your honour; return the compliment by washing your face. There’s a maid inside to show you.”
“Show me how to wash my face!” exclaimed Duane, delighted. “This is luxury——”
“I want him to see the Gray Water before it’s too late, with the sunlight on the trees and the big trout jumping,” protested Scott.
“I’ll do my own jumping if you’ll furnish the tub,” observed Duane. “Where’s that agreeable maid who washes your guests’ faces?”
Kathleen nodded an amused dismissal to them. Arm in arm they entered the house, which was built out of squared blocks of field stone. Scott motioned the servants aside and did the piloting himself up a broad stone stairs, east along a wide sunny corridor full of nooks and angles and antique sofas and potted flowers.
“Not that way,” he said; “Dysart is in there taking a nap. Turn to the left.”
“Dysart?” repeated Duane. “I didn’t know there was to be anybody else here.”
“I asked Jack Dysart because he’s a good rod. Kathleen raised the deuce about it when I told her, but it was too late. Anyway, I didn’t know she had no use for him. He’s certainly clever at dry-fly casting. He uses pneumatic bodies, not cork or paraffine.”
“Is his wife here?” asked Duane carelessly.
“Yes. Geraldine asked her as soon as she heard I’d written to Jack. But when I told her the next day that I expected you, too, she got mad all over, and we had a lively talk-fest. What was there wrong in my having you and the Dysarts here at the same time? Don’t you get on?”
“Charmingly,” replied Duane airily.... “It will be very interesting, I think. Is there anybody else here?”
“Delancy Grandcourt. Isn’t he the dead one? But Geraldine wanted him. And there’s that stick of a Quest girl, and Bunbury Gray. Naida came over this afternoon from the Tappans’ at Iron Hill—thank goodness——”