“I’m so glad,” she assured him. “Do you know, I was thinking only as I came back in the taxicab, how I should miss you.”
She was standing with her foot upon the broad fender, and her first little impulse of pleasure seemed to pass as she looked into the fire. She turned towards him gravely.
“After all, do you think you are wise?” she asked. “Of course, I don’t think that any one at Dreymarsh has the least suspicion, but you know Captain Griffiths did ask questions, and—well, you’re safely away now. You have been so wonderful about Dick, so wonderful altogether,” she went on, “that I couldn’t bear it if trouble were to come.”
He smiled at her.
“I think I know what is at the back of your mind,” he said. “You think that I am coming back entirely on your account. As it happens, this is not so.”
She looked at him with wide-open eyes.
“Surely,” she exclaimed, “you have satisfied yourself that there is no field for your ingenuity in Dreymarsh?”
“I thought that I had,” he admitted. “It seems that I am wrong. I have had orders to return.”
“Orders to return?” she repeated. “From whom?”
He shook his head.
“Of course, I ought not to have asked that,” she proceeded hastily, “but it does seem odd to realise that you can receive instructions and messages from Germany, here in London.”
“Very much the same sort of thing goes on in Germany,” he reminded her.
“So they say,” she admitted, “but one doesn’t come into contact with it. So you are really coming back to Dreymarsh!”
“With you, if I may?”
“Naturally,” she agreed.
He glanced at the clock. “We might almost be starting for lunch,” he suggested.
She nodded. “As soon as I’ve told Grover about the luggage.”
She was absent only a few moments, and then, as it was a dry, sunny morning, they walked down St. James Street and along Pall Mall to the Carlton. Philippa met several acquaintances, but Lessingham walked with his head erect, looking neither to the right nor to the left.
“Aren’t you sometimes afraid of being recognised?” she asked him. “There must be a great many men about of your time at Magdalen, for instance?”
“Nine years makes a lot of difference,” he reminded her, “and besides, I have a theory that it is only when the eyes meet that recognition really takes place. So long as I do not look into any one’s face, I feel quite safe.”
“You are sure that you would not like to go to a smaller place than the Carlton?”
“It makes no difference,” he assured her. “My credentials have been wonderfully established for me.”
“I’m so glad,” she confessed. “I know it’s most unfashionable, but I do like these big places. If ever I had my way, I should like to live in London and have a cottage in the country, instead of living in the country and being just an hotel dweller in London.”