might not see her to her door; but spring, summer, autumn or winter, so far, he had never proposed.Pendock was fifty: a tall, straight, good-looking man, with hair growing becominglygrey above his ears, and eyes of a quite amazing deep blue-green. Lying at the edge of acliff looking down into the clear, cold water of the Cornish seas, you looked into the verydepth and colour of Pendock’s eyes. Kind eyes, good eyes, humorous, warm, friendlyeyes; but not loving eyes; not sentimental eyes; not, anyway, for Grace.She looked anxiously at her watch. Half-past four and the light was getting so dimthat, really, she had no excuse for sitting out there any longer. She pondered theadvisability of putting in a plea to be permitted to come again to-morrow; but to-morrowthe remains of the snow would probably be gone. It was thick on the downs still, butdown here in the valley it was rapidly melting away, and she had had to use a good dealof imagination, even as things were. Of course the
was very cold—it might snowtonight … But surely someone would come out of the house soon, and ask her to stay totea. Perhaps they had forgotten her. Pendock had guests, she knew: Lady Hart, who had been a friend of his family from the days before he was born, who had stayed atPigeonsford since his grandfather’s time, was there now with her two granddaughters;and Henry Gold who had married Venetia Hart, one of the granddaughters; she imaginedthem all sitting indoors over a cosy tea—herself, forgotten, left out on the terrace in the bitter cold. There was no pretext for going back into the house, for if she were to keep toher promise of being no trouble to anyone, all she had to do was to walk down the stepsof the terrace, pick her way through the melting snow on the lawn, nip over the little bridge that divided Pendock’s garden from the orchards that surrounded the Cottage, and be having tea in her own drawing-room by a quarter to five. She began reluctantly toclean up her palette and put her brushes away.Voices from the french window behind her considerably accelerated this process,and a sleek black dachshund arrived upon the scene and commenced investigations.Venetia Gold and her sister Francesca stepped out on to the terrace.