Helen glanced at it admiringly.
“I decline to say the correct thing,” she declared. “I will only remind you that there will be no one here to look at it.”
“I am not so sure,” Philippa replied. “These are the woods which the special constables haunt by day and by night. They gaze up every tree trunk for a wireless installation, and they lie behind hedges and watch for mysterious flashes.”
“Are you suggesting that we may meet Mr. Lessingham?” Helen enquired, lazily. “I am perfectly certain that he knows nothing of the equipment of the melodramatic spy. As to Zeppelins, don’t you remember he told us that he hated them and was terrified of bombs.”
“My dear,” Philippa remonstrated, “Mr. Lessingham does nothing crude.”
“And yet,—” Helen began.
“Yet I suppose the man has something at the back of his head,” Philippa interrupted. “Sometimes I think that he has, sometimes I believe that Richard must have shown him my picture, and he has come over here to see if I am really like it.”
“He does behave rather like that,” her companion admitted drily.
Phillipa turned and looked at her.
“Helen,” she said severely, “don’t be a cat.”
“If I were to express my opinion of your behaviour,” Helen went on, picking up a pine cone and examining it, “I might astonish you.”
“You have an evil mind,” Philippa yawned, producing her cigarette case. “What you really resent is that Mr. Lessingham sometimes forgets to talk about Dick.”
“The poor man doesn’t get much chance,” Helen retorted, watching the blue smoke from her cigarette and leaning back with an air of content. “Whatever do you and he find to talk about, Philippa?”
“Literature—English and German,” Philippa murmured demurely. “Mr. Lessingham is remarkably well read, and he knows more about our English poets than any man I have met for years.”
“I forgot that you enjoyed that sort of thing.”
“Once more, don’t be a cat,” Philippa enjoined. “If you want me to confess it, I will own up at once. You know what a simple little thing I am. I admire Mr. Lessingham exceedingly, and I find him a most interesting companion.”
“You mean,” her friend observed drily “the Baron Maderstrom.” Philippa looked around and frowned.
“You are most indiscreet, Helen,” she declared. “I have learnt something of the science of espionage lately, and I can assure you that all spoken or written words are dangerous. There is a thoroughly British squirrel in that tree overhead, and I am sure he heard.”
“I suppose the sunshine has got into your head,” Helen groaned.
“If you mean that I am finding it a relief to talk nonsense, you are right,” Philippa assented. “As a matter of fact, I am feeling most depressed. Henry telephoned from somewhere or other before breakfast this morning, to say that he should probably be home to-night or to-morrow. They must have landed somewhere down the coast.”