She looked at him with peculiar steadfastness. There was nothing in her eyes or her expression to suggest belief or disbelief in his words.
“But I have heard you say so often,” she remarked, “that you knew absolutely nothing about the mechanism of a car, and that you would not drive one for anything in the world.”
“I am not proud of my skill,” he answered, “but I did try at Homburg once. There was nothing else to do, and I had some idea of buying a small car for touring in the Black Forest. If you doubt my words, you can ask any of the servants. They saw me bring the car up the avenue later in the morning.”
“It was being dragged up,” she reminded him. “The engine was not going.”
He looked a little startled.
“It had only just gone wrong,” he said. “I had brought it all the way from Lynn.”
She rose to her feet.
“Thank you for answering my question,” she said. “I am going for a walk now.”
He leaned quite close to her.
“Alone?” he asked suggestively.
She swept away without even looking at him. He shrugged his shoulders as he resumed his seat.
“I am not sure,” he said reflectively, as he lit a cigarette, “that Ena will find that young woman so easy to deal with as she imagines!”
Andrew looked up from his gardening, startled by the sudden peal of thunder. Absorbed in his task, he had not noticed the gathering storm. The sky was black with clouds, riven even while he looked with a vivid flash of forked lightning. The ground beneath his feet seemed almost to shake beneath that second peal of thunder. In the stillness that followed he heard the cry of a woman in distress. He threw down his spade and raced to the other side of the garden. About twenty yards from the shore, Jeanne, in a small boat, was rowing toward the island. She was pulling at the great oars with feeble strokes, and making no headway against the current which was sweeping down the tidal way. There was no time for hesitation. Andrew threw off his coat, and wading into the water, reached her just in time. He clambered into the boat and took the oars from her trembling fingers. He was not a moment too soon, for the long tidal waves were rushing in now before the storm. He bent to his task, and drove the boat safely on to the beach. Then he stood up, dripping, and handed her out.
“My dear young lady,” he said, a little brusquely, and forgetting for the moment his Norfolk dialect, “what on earth are you about in that little boat all by yourself?”
She was still frightened, and she looked at him a little piteously.
“Please don’t be angry with me,” she said. “I wanted to come here and see you, to—to ask your advice. The boat was lying there, and it looked such a very short distance across, and directly I had started the big waves began to come in and I was frightened.”