Jeanne Of The Marshes
About half-way through dinner that night, Cecil de la Borne drew a long sigh of
relief. At last his misgivings were set at rest. His party was going to be, was
already, in fact, pronounced, a success. A glance at his fair neighbour, however,
who was lighting her third or fourth Russian cigarette since the caviare, sent a
shiver of thankfulness through his whole being. What a sensible fellow Andrew
had been to clear out. This sort of thing would not have appealed to him at all.
"My dear Cecil," the Princess declared, "I call this perfectly delightful. Jeanne and
I have wanted so much to see you in your own home. Jeanne, isn't this nicer,
ever so much nicer, than anything you had imagined?"
Jeanne, who was sitting opposite, lifted her remarkable eyes and glanced around
"Yes," she admitted, "I think that it is! But then, any place that looks in the least
like a home is a delightful change after all that rushing about in London."
"I agree with you entirely," Major Forrest declared. "If our friend has disappointed
us at all, it is in the absence of that primitiveness which he led us to expect. One
perceives that one is drinking Veuve Clicquot of a vintage year, and one
suspects the nationality of our host's cook."
"You can have all the primitivism you want if you look out of the windows," Cecil
remarked drily. "You will see nothing but a line of stunted trees, and behind,
miles of marshes and the greyest sea which ever played upon the land. Listen!
You don't hear a sound like that in the cities."
Even as he spoke they heard the dull roar of the north wind booming across the
wild empty places which lay between the Red Hall and the sea. A storm of
raindrops was flung against the window. The Princess shivered.