“Just let him think that your letters came by post in the ordinary way,” he advised. “I shouldn’t imagine, from what I have seen of your husband, that he is a suspicious person, but it is just possible that he might have associated them with me if you had mentioned them the other night. When is he coming back?”
“I never know,” Philippa answered with a sigh. “Perhaps to-night, perhaps in a week. It depends upon what sport he is having. You are not smoking.”
Lessingham lit a cigarette.
“I find your husband,” he said quietly, “rather an interesting type. We have no one like that in Germany. He almost puzzles me.”
Philippa glanced up to find her companion’s dark eyes fixed upon her.
“There is very little about Henry that need puzzle any one,” she complained bitterly. “He is just an overgrown, spoilt child, devoted to amusements, and following his fancy wherever it leads him. Why do you look at me, Mr. Lessingham, as though you thought I was keeping something back? I am not, I can assure you.”
“Perhaps I was wondering,” he confessed, “how you really felt towards a husband whose outlook was so unnatural.”
She looked down at her intertwined fingers.
“Do you know,” she said softly, “I feel, somehow or other, although we have known one another such a short time, as though we were friends, and yet that is a question which I could not answer. A woman must always have some secrets, you know.”
“A man may try sometimes to preserve his,” he sighed, “but a woman is clever enough, as a rule, to dig them out.”
A faint tinge of colour stole into her cheeks. She welcomed Helen’s approach almost eagerly.
“A woman must first feel the will,” she murmured, without glancing at him. “Helen, do you think we dare ask Mr. Lessingham to come and dine?”
“Please do not discourage such a delightful suggestion,” Lessingham begged eagerly.
“I haven’t the least idea of doing so,” Helen laughed, “so long as I may have—say just ten minutes to talk about Dick.”
“It is a bargain,” he promised.
“We shall be quite alone,” Philippa warned him, “unless Henry arrives.”
“It is the great attraction of your invitation,” he confessed.
“At eight o’clock, then.”
“Captain Griffiths to see your ladyship.”
Philippa’s fingers rested for a moment upon the keyboard of the piano before which she was seated, awaiting Lessingham’s arrival. Then she glanced at the clock. It was ten minutes to eight.
“You can show him in, Mills, if he wishes to see me.”
Captain Griffiths was ushered into the room—awkward, unwieldly, nervous as usual. He entered as though in a hurry, and there was nothing in his manner to denote that he had spent the last few hours making up his mind to this visit.