Lucille made no answer. She leaned back and closed her eyes. She did not speak again till they reached Dover.
They embarked in the drizzling rain. Lady Carey drew a little breath of relief as they reached their cabin, and felt the boat move beneath them.
“Thank goodness that we are really off. I have been horribly nervous all the time. If they let you leave England they can have no suspicion as yet.”
Lucille was putting on an ulster and cap to go out on deck.
“I am not at all sure,” she said, “that I shall not return to England. At any rate, if Victor does not come to me in Paris I shall go to him.”
“What beautiful trust!” Lady Carey answered. “My dear Lucille, you are more like a school-girl than a woman of the world.”
A steward entered with a telegram for Lucille. It was banded in at the Haymarket, an hour before their departure. Lucille read it, and her face blanched. “I thank you for your invitation, but I fear that it would not be good for my health.—S.”
Lady Carey looked over her shoulder. She laughed hardly.
“How brutal!” she murmured. “But, then, Victor can be brutal sometimes, can’t he?”
Lucille tore it into small pieces without a word. Lady Carey waited for a remark from her in vain.
“I, too,” she said at last, “have had some telegrams. I have been hesitating whether to show them to you or not. Perhaps you had better see them.”
She produced them and spread them out. The first was dated about the same time as the one Lucille had received.
“Have seen S. with message from Lucille. Fear quite useless, as he believes worst.”
The second was a little longer.
“Have just heard S. has left for Liverpool, and has engaged berth in Campania, sailing to-morrow. Break news to Lucille if you think well. Have wired him begging return, and promising full explanation.”
“If these,” Lucille said calmly, “belonged to me I should treat them as I have my own.”
“What do you mean?”
“I should tear them up.”
Lady Carey shrugged her shoulders with the air of one who finds further argument hopeless.
“I shall have no more to say to you, Lucille, on this subject,” she said. “You are impossible. In a few days you will be forced to come round to my point of view. I will wait till then. And in the meantime, if you think I am going to tramp up and down those sloppy decks and gaze at the sea you are very much mistaken. I am going to lie down like a civilized being, and try and get a nap. You had better do the same.”
“For my part,” she said, “I find any part of the steamer except the deck intolerable. I am going now in search of some fresh air. Shall I send your woman along?”
Lady Carey nodded, for just then the steamer gave a violent lurch, and she was not feeling talkative. Lucille went outside and walked up and down until the lights of Calais were in sight. All the time she felt conscious of the observation of a small man clad in a huge mackintosh, whose peaked cap completely obscured his features. As they were entering the harbour she purposely stood by his side. He held on to the rail with one hand and turned towards her.