She allowed him to pass through the gate, which he shut slowly, perhaps to give her an opportunity of speaking, if she wished to do so; then thinking that he did not see her she spoke in her soft, musical voice.
“Did you have good sport, Mr. Bingham?”
“No,” he answered shortly; “I saw very little, and I missed all I saw.”
“I am so sorry, except for the birds. I hate the birds to be killed. Did you not see me in this white dress? I saw you fifty yards away.”
“Yes, Miss Granger,” he answered, “I saw you.”
“And you were going by without speaking to me; it was very rude of you—what is the matter?”
“Not so rude as it was of you to arrange to walk out with me and then to go and see Mr. Davies instead.”
“I could not help it, Mr. Bingham; it was an old engagement, which I had forgotten.”
“Quite so, ladies generally have an excuse for doing what they want to do.”
“It is not an excuse, Mr. Bingham,” Beatrice answered, with dignity; “there is no need for me to make excuses to you about my movements.”
“Of course not, Miss Granger; but it would be more polite to tell me when you change your mind—next time, you know. However, I have no doubt that the Castle has attractions for you.”
She flashed one look at him and turned to go, and as she did so his heart relented; he grew ashamed.
“Miss Granger, don’t go; forgive me. I do not know what has become of my manners, I spoke as I should not. The fact is, I was put out at your not coming. To tell you the honest truth, I missed you dreadfully.”
“You missed me. That is very nice of you; one likes to be missed. But, if you missed me for one afternoon, how will you get on a week hence when you go away and miss me altogether?”
Beatrice spoke in a bantering tone, and laughed as she spoke, but the laugh ended in something like a sigh. He looked at her for a moment, looked till she dropped her eyes.
“Heaven only knows!” he answered sadly.
“Let us go in,” said Beatrice, in a constrained voice; “how chill the air has turned.”
Five more days passed, all too quickly, and once more Monday came round. It was the 22nd of October, and the Michaelmas Sittings began on the 24th. On the morrow, Tuesday, Geoffrey was to return to London, there to meet Lady Honoria and get to work at Chambers. That very morning, indeed, a brief, the biggest he had yet received—it was marked thirty guineas—had been forwarded to him from his chambers, with a note from his clerk to the effect that the case was expected to be in the special jury list on the first day of the sittings, and that the clerk had made an appointment for him with the solicitors for 5.15 on the Tuesday. The brief was sent to him by his uncle’s firm, and marked, “With you the Attorney-General, and Mr. Candleton, Q.C.,” the well-known leader of the Probate and Divorce Court Bar. Never before had Geoffrey found himself in such honourable company, that is on the back of a brief, and not a little was he elated thereby.