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The Zeppelin's Passenger

Chapter 5
Philippa's breakdown was only momentary. With a few brusque words she brought the
other two down to the level of her newly recovered equanimity.
"To be practical," she began, "we have no time to lose. I will go and get a suit of Dick's
clothes, and, Helen, you had better take Mr. Lessingham into the gun room. Afterwards,
perhaps you will have time to ring up the hotel."
Lessingham took a quick step towards her, - almost as though he were about to make
some impetuous withdrawal. Philippa turned and met his almost pleading gaze. Perhaps
she read there his instinct of self-abnegation.
"I am in command of the situation," she continued, a little more lightly. "Every one must
please obey me. I shan't be more than five minutes."
She left the room, waving back Lessingham's attempt to open the door for her. He stood
for a moment looking at the place where she had vanished. Then he turned round.
"Major Felstead's description," he said quietly, "did not do his sister justice."
"Philippa is a dear," Helen declared enthusiastically. "Just for a moment, though, I was
terrified. She has a wonderful will."
"How long has she been married?"
"About six years."
"Are there - any children?"
Helen shook her head.
"Sir Henry had a daughter by his first wife, who lives with us."
"Six years!" Lessingham repeated. "Why, she seems no more than a child. Sir Henry
must be a great deal her senior."
"Sixteen years," Helen told him. "Philippa is twenty-nine. And now, don't be inquisitive
any more, please, and come with me. I want to show you where to change your clothes."
She opened a door on the other side of the room, and pointed to a small apartment across
the passage.
"If you'll wait in there," she begged, "I'll bring the clothes to you directly they come. I am
going to telephone now."
 
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