Sir Henry frowned.
“It’s all very well, you know, Helen,” he said, “but a woman ought to trust her husband.”
“I am your friend, remember,” Helen replied, “and upon my word, I couldn’t trust and believe even in Dick, if he behaved as you have done for the last twelve months.”
Sir Henry made a grimace.
“Well, that settles it, I suppose, then,” he observed. “I’ll have one more try and see what I can do with Philippa. Perhaps a hint of what’s going on may satisfy her.”
He climbed the stairs, meeting Nora on her way down, and knocked at his wife’s door. There was no reply. He tried the handle and found the door locked.
“Are you there, Philippa?” he asked.
“Yes!” she replied coldly.
“I am going to London this morning. Can I have a few words with you first?”
Sir Henry was a little taken aback.
“Don’t be silly, Philippa,” he persisted. “I may be away for four or five days.”
There was no answer. Sir Henry suddenly remembered another entrance from a newly added bathroom. He availed himself of it and found Philippa seated in an easy-chair, calmly progressing with her breakfast. She raised her eyebrows at his entrance.
“These are my apartments,” she reminded him.
“Don’t be a little fool,” he exclaimed impatiently.
Philippa deliberately buttered herself a piece of toast, picked up her book, and became at once immersed in it.
“You don’t wish to talk to me, then?” he demanded.
“I do not,” she agreed. “You have had all the opportunities which any man should need, of explaining certain matters to me. My curiosity in them has ended; also my interest—in you. You say you are going to London. Very well. Pray do not hurry home on my account.”
Sir Henry, as he turned to leave the room, made the common mistake of a man arguing with a woman—he attempted to have the last word.
“Perhaps I am better out of the way, eh?”
“Perhaps so,” Philippa assented sweetly.
Philippa, late that afternoon, found what she sought—solitude. She had walked along the sands until Dreymarsh lay out of sight on the other side of a spur of the cliffs. Before her stretched a long and level plain, a fringe of sand, and a belt of shingly beach. There was not a sign of any human being in sight, and of buildings only a quaint tower on the far horizon.
She found a dry place on the pebbles, removed her hat and sat down, her hands clasped around her knees, her eyes turned seaward. She had come out here to think, but it was odd how fugitive and transient her thoughts became. Her husband was always there in the background, but in those moments it was Lessingham who was the predominant figure. She remembered his earnestness, his tender solicitude for her, the