Then they discussed routes.
“The thing to do,” said Mrs Ewing, “is not to crowd up with that lot in the mail steamers, where you can’t do as you like, or have any special attentions, but to go in a smaller vessel, where you would be of some importance, and have your liberty, and plenty of space, and no tiresome rules and restrictions—”
“My dear child, you don’t know those second-rate lines. I do. I assure you you’d be very sorry for yourself if I let you travel by them. They are not your style at all.”
“Yes, I was talking to Captain Carey about it, and that was his advice, and he knows. On his ship they have accommodation for about six passengers, and he suggested that, if we were quick about it, we might be able to secure the whole, so as to be exactly as if we were on a yacht of our own. They have a fair cook; but we could take any servants we liked, and make ourselves comfortable in our own way— nobody to interfere with us. He doesn’t go through the hot canal. He will be back from Sydney in three weeks—just nice time to get ready in.”
Of course, they went that way. And perhaps it is better to leave the rest of the story to the imagination of the reader, who, one hopes, for Guthrie Carey’s sake, is a common-sense person, as well as a dispassionate student of human nature.
Deb was at Redford once more.
In her own room too, surrounded by familiar objects—the six-foot dressing-table and the nine-foot wardrobe, and the Aspinalled book-case that was a fixture, amongst other things. She had not taken them to her suburban villa, nor sent for them afterwards. Meanwhile, Mr Thornycroft had bought them with the place, and taken care of them, as of everything that she had left behind. They had been in his possession now for several years.
The strange thing in the room was Mr Thornycroft himself—Mr Thornycroft on the little white bed that Deb used to sleep on, his hair white, his once stalwart frame reduced to a pale wreck of skin and bone.
“You will forgive me for coming here,” he apologised. “I have not been using the things. But they had me moved for coolness—the south-east aspect, and being able to get a current through—”
“I am thankful they did. It is the best place for you this weather. But there’s one thing I shall never forgive you—that you didn’t let me know before.”
She was sitting at his bedside, holding his hand—she, too, much changed, thinner, sadder, shabbier, or rather, less splendidly turned out than had been her wont in earlier days; beautiful as ever, notwithstanding—infinitely more so, in the sick man’s eyes.
“Why should I bother you? I haven’t been very bad—just the old asthma off and on. It is only lately that I have felt it upsetting my heart. And you know I am used to being alone.”