At a quarter past two that afternoon,
Amaryllis, with her bull-dog, set out for a walk.
Her father was in the laboratory,
ostensibly at work, and Sir Randal, beaming expectant,
had driven off to St. Albans.
Tea-time, or even dinner was early
enough, thought Amaryllis, to meet the new-comer;
and then, in spite of the mixture of bewilderment,
pride and regret which oppressed her, she remembered
the words of the American in the Cape Town bar:
“Eyes blue as a hummin’ bird’s weskit.”
“How absurd!” she exclaimed, laughing
Then she sighed, and was quite sure
she really wanted to be alone, and set herself, as
she strolled down through the hazel copse towards the
London road, to think seriously of Randal Bellamy and
But the trouble was that Miss Caldegard
had never seen a humming bird, and therefore found
herself brooding on the blueness of all the blue things
in her experience, from willow-pattern china to the
waters of the Mediterranean, instead of considering
the answer which she must give to Randal on Friday.
A quarter of a mile of winding path
led her downward to the level of the road. When
she reached the stile, her thought was still far from
the matter she had promised to consider.
She turned to call her dog, and, knowing
his insatiable curiosity, was less surprised than
annoyed to find that she had let him stray. She
could not remember whether she had last seen him behind
her, in front, or blundering through the undergrowth,
still confident, in spite of perpetual disappointment,
in his power to overtake a rabbit.
Now the dog’s temper, admirable
with his friends, was uncertain with strangers, and
Amaryllis was accustomed to keep him close at heel
in public places. So, having whistled and called
in vain, she crossed the stile and looked down the
road towards Iddingfield.
There was the tiresome beast, if you
please, a hundred yards away, gambolling clumsily
round the legs of a man walking towards her.
Her second whistle brought the animal
to a sense of duty, and he trotted towards her, with
many pauses to look back reluctantly at his new friend.
She caught the dog’s collar
with the crook of her stick, and bent down, slapping
his muzzle in mild reproof.
As the stranger passed, his glance
was downward, for the dog, rather than the woman.
As she stood erect, she saw him standing with his back
towards her, in the middle of the road, with face turned
to the stile she had just crossed.
Then he swung round, raising his hat
as he approached her.
“Please tell me if that path
leads to the Manor House,” he said.
Amaryllis saw a tall, well-made figure,
a face clean-shaven and deeply sun-burnt, and under
the lifted hat caught a glimpse of sleek black hair.
But when she saw his eyes, she knew his name, for they
were the bluest she had ever seen.
“Yes,” she said.
“I think you must be Mr. Richard Bellamy.”
“I am,” he said. “How did you
“Sir Randal Bellamy was telling
us about you,” she answered. “I am
Miss Caldegard. My father and I are staying with
Sir Randal. Yes, over the stile is your quickest
way to the house.” And she looked down the
“Aren’t you coming, too?” asked
Amaryllis looked at him for a moment.
“Perhaps I’d better,” she said,
going towards the stile.
“Why ’better’?” he asked.
“There is no one to receive
you,” she replied. “Besides, the village
isn’t very interesting.”
“Awful,” said Dick. “Worst
beer in England.”
Amaryllis did not reply. When
they were amongst the trees, he spoke again.
“I know Randal was to meet me
at St. Albans, but I ’phoned from Iddingfield
and told ’em to send him back at once. I
got my car back from the vet. at mid-day, and if I
hadn’t had a bit of a smash just outside Iddingfield,
I’d have got here before.”
Amaryllis was a quick walker, and
had set a good pace up the slope from the stile.
Suddenly she remembered her companion’s nick-name,
and, slackening her speed, involuntarily glanced down
to see if indeed this man were lame.
He came up beside her.
“It’s all right, Miss
Caldegard,” he said kindly. “My action’s
a blemish, not a handicap.”
“Oh, Mr. Bellamy!” she
said. “I never even noticed it until this
“I thought that was how you
recognised me in the road,” said the man.
“It wasn’t that,”
said Amaryllis, and in fear of further questioning,
whistled her dog back to the path.
“Silly old thing,” she
said. “He won’t believe that Mr. Bunny
is too quick for him; he’s never caught one
yet except in his dreams.”
They were making their way towards
the house when they heard the car drive up to the
front door, and before they reached the windows of
the dining-room, Randal Bellamy turned the corner.
Amaryllis stood apart watching with
a certain curiosity the meeting of the brothers.
The elder’s face was beaming
with welcome, the younger’s she could not see,
but something in his bearing suggested a pleasure no
less. All she heard, however, was: “Hullo,
young ’un!” and “Hullo, Bill!”
And, when they came towards her, the
expression of the two faces was that of men who, having
breakfasted together, had met again at luncheon.
my solemn introduction, I see,” said Randal.
“Gorgon performed the ceremony,” said