“Lor’, no, Miss, there can’t be any such goings on as that here. I think they are waiting for you in the breakfast room,” said the girl, starting down the broad steps.
“I’d sooner die than venture among those ruffians!”
“But the ladies are expecting you.”
“Ladies! Here?” gasped Dorothy.
“Yes, Miss; why not?”
Dorothy’s head whirled again. In a dazed sort of way she glanced down at her morning gown, her mind slowly going back to the glittering costume she had worn the night before. Was it all a dream? Scarcely knowing what she did, she followed the girl down the steps, utterly without purpose, drawn as by some strange subtle force to the terminal point in the mystery.
Through the dimly-lighted hall she passed with heart throbbing wildly, expecting she knew not what. Her emotions as she approached the door she could have never told, so tumultuously were they surging one upon the other. The maid grasped the huge knob and swung wide the door, from whose threshold she was to look upon a picture that would linger in her mind to the end of time.
A great sunlit room; a long table and high-backed Flemish chairs; a bewildering group of men and women; a chorus of friendly voices; and then familiar faces began to stand out plainly before her eyes.
Lady Saxondale was advancing toward the door with outstretched hands and smiling face. Over her shoulder the dumbfounded girl saw Lady Jane Oldham, Saxondale, happy faced Dickey Savage and—Philip Quentin!
Dorothy staggered into the arms of Lady Saxondale, choking with a joy that knew no bounds, stupefied past all power of understanding. She only saw and knew that she was safe, that some strange miracle had been wrought and that there were no terrible, cruel-hearted robbers in sight. It was some time before she could utter a word to those who stood about eagerly—anxiously—watching the play of emotions in her face.
“O, you will never know how glorious you all look to me. How is it that I am here? Where are those awful men? What has happened to me, Lady Saxondale, tell me? I cannot breathe till everything is explained to me,” she cried, her voice trembling with gladness. In her vast exuberance she found strength and with it the desire to embrace all these good friends. Her ecstatic exhibition of joy lost its violence after she had kissed and half crushed Lady Jane and had grasped both of Lord Bob’s big hands convulsively. The young men came in for a much more formal and decorous greeting. For an instant she found herself looking into Quentin’s eyes, as he clasped her hand, and there was a strange light in them—a bright, eager, victorious gleam which puzzled her not a little. “O, tell me all about it! Please do! I’ve been through such a terrible experience. Can it be true that I am really here with you?”