“We were very foolish,” Major Forrest said softly. “We sat up a great deal too late, and I am afraid that we all smoked too many cigarettes. You see it was our last night, for without Engleton our bridge is over.”
“We must try,” Cecil said, “and find some other form of entertainment for you. Would you like to sail again this afternoon, Princess?”
“I believe,” she answered, “that I should like it if I may have plenty of cushions and a soft place for my head, so that if I feel like it I can go to sleep. Really, these late nights are dreadful. I am almost glad that Lord Ronald has gone. At least there will be no excuse for us to sit up until daylight.” “To-night,” Major Forrest remarked, “let us all be primitive. We will go to bed at eleven o’clock, and get up in the morning and walk with Miss Le Mesurier upon the marshes. What do you find upon the sands, I wonder,” he added, turning a little suddenly toward the girl, “to bring such a colour to your cheeks, and to keep you away from us for so many hours?”
Jeanne looked at him for a moment without change of features.
“It would not be easy,” she said, “for me to tell you, for I find things there which you could not appreciate or understand.”
“You find them alone?” Major Forrest asked smiling.
She turned her left shoulder upon him and addressed her host.
“Major Forrest is very impertinent,” she said. “I think that I will not talk with him any more. Tell me, Mr. De la Borne, do you really mean that we can go sailing this afternoon?”
“If you will,” he answered. “I have sent down to the village to tell them to bring the boat up to our harbourage.”
“I shall love it,” she declared. “It will be such a good thing for you three, too, because it will make you all sleepy, and then you will be able to go to bed and not worry about your bridge. When is Lord Ronald coming back?”
“He was not quite sure,” the Princess remarked. “It depends upon the urgency of his business which summoned him away.”
“How odd,” Jeanne remarked, “to think of Lord Ronald as having any business at all. I cannot understand even now why I did not hear the car go. My room is just over the entrance to the courtyard.”
“It is a proof,” Major Forrest remarked, “that you sleep as soundly as you deserve.”
“I am not so sure about that,” Jeanne said. “Last night, for instance, it seemed to me that I heard all manner of strange sounds.”
Cecil de la Borne looked up quickly.
“Sounds?” he repeated. “Do you mean noises in the house?”
“Yes, and voices! Once I thought that you must be all quarrelling, and then I thought that I heard some one fall down. After that there was nothing but the opening and shutting of doors.”
“And after that,” the Princess remarked smiling, “you probably went to sleep.”