Felstead was helping himself to cheese, and he saw nothing of the quick glance which passed between the two women.
“Yes, we had them, Dick,” Philippa told him. “It was one afternoon —it doesn’t seem so very long ago. And oh, how thankful we were!”
“He got them across all right, then. Tell me, did they come through Holland? What was the postmark?”
“The postmark,” Philippa repeated, a little doubtfully. “You heard what Dick asked, Helen? The postmark?”
“I don’t think there was one,” Helen replied, glancing anxiously at Philippa.
Felstead set down his glass.
“No postmark? You mean no foreign postmark, I suppose? They were posted in England, eh?”
Philippa shook her head.
“They came to us, Dick,” she said, “by hand.”
Felstead was, without a doubt, astonished. He turned round in his chair towards Philippa.
“By hand?” he repeated. “Do you mean to say that they were actually brought here by hand?”
Perhaps something in his manner warned them. Philippa laughed as she bent over his chair.
“We will tell you how they came, presently,” she declared, “but not until you have finished your lunch, drunk the last drop of that champagne, and had at least two glasses of the port that Mills has been decanting so carefully. After that we will see. Just now I have only one feeling, and I know that Helen has it, too. Nothing else matters except that we have you home again.”
Felstead patted his sister on the cheek, drew her face down to his and kissed her.
“It’s so wonderful to be at home!” he exclaimed apologetically. “But I must warn you that I am the rabidest person alive. I went out to the war with a certain amount of respect for the Germans. I have come back loathing them like vermin. I spent—but I won’t go on.”
Mills made his appearance with the decanter of port.
“I beg your ladyship’s pardon,” he said, as he filled Felstead’s glass, “but Mr. Lessingham has arrived and is in the library, waiting to see you.”
To Major Richard Felstead, Mills’ announcement was without significance. For the first time he became conscious, however, of something which seemed almost like a secret understanding between his sister and his fiancée.
“Tell Mr. Lessingham I shall be with him in a minute or two, if he will kindly wait,” Philippa instructed.
“Who is Mr. Lessingham?” Richard enquired, as soon as the door had closed behind Mills. “Seems a queer time to call.”
Helen glanced at Philippa, whose lips framed a decided negative.
“Mr. Lessingham is a gentleman staying in the neighbourhood,” the latter replied. “You will probably make his acquaintance before long. Incidentally, he saved Henry’s life the other night.”