Book One: Charlotte Redhead -- Book Two: John Roden Conway.
She wouldn't go to Bourton-on-the-Hill. She would go back to the hotel and see whether there was a wire for her from Gwinnie.... He liked going out of his way.
"I suppose," he said, "there's something the other side of that gate."
"I hate to tell you. There's a road there. It's your way. The end of the adventure."
He laughed again, showing small white teeth this time. The gate fell to with a thud and a click.
"What do I do now?"
"You go north. Straight ahead. Turn down the fifth or sixth lane on your right--you'll see the sign-post. Then the first lane on your left. That'll bring you out at the top of the hill."
"Thanks. Thanks most awfully." He raised his hat, backing from her, holding her in his eyes till he turned.
He would be out of sight now at the pace he was going; his young, slender, skimming stride.
She stood on the top of the rise and looked round. He was halting down there at the bend by the grey cone of the lime kiln under the ash-tree. He had turned and had his face towards her. Above his head the battleship sailed on its green field.
He began to come back, slowly, as if he were looking for something dropped on his path; then suddenly he stopped, turned again and was gone.
There was no wire from Gwinnie. She had waited a week now. She wondered how long it would be before Gwinnie's mother's lumbago gave in and let her go.
* * * * *
She knew it by heart now, the long, narrow coffee-room of the hotel. The draped chimney piece and little oblong gilt-framed mirror at one end; at the other the bowed window looking west on to the ash-tree and the fields; the two straight windows between, looking south on to the street.
To-night the long table down the middle was set with a white cloth. The family from Birmingham had come. Father and mother, absurd pouter-pigeons swelling and strutting; two putty-faced unmarried daughters, sulking; one married one, pink and proper, and the son-in-law, sharp eyed and bald-headed. From