The words: "A Mrs. Larne to see you, sir," had been of a nature to astonish weaker nerves. What had brought her here? She knew she mustn't come! Old Heythorp had watched her entrance with cynical amusement. The way she whiffed herself at that young pup in passing, the way her eyes slid round! He had a very just appreciation of his son's widow; and a smile settled deep between his chin tuft and his moustache. She lifted his hand, kissed it, pressed it to her splendid bust, and said:
"So here I am at last, you see. Aren't you surprised?"
"I really had to come and see you, Guardy; we haven't had a sight of you for such an age. And in this awful weather! How are you, dear old Guardy?"
"Never better." And, watching her green-grey eyes, he added:
Her face did not fall; she gave her feather-laugh.
"How dreadful of you to think I came for that! But I am in an awful fix, Guardy."
"Just let me tell you, dear; it'll be some relief. I'm having the most terrible time."
She sank into a low chair, disengaging an overpowering scent of violets, while melancholy struggled to subdue her face and body.