“No one, dear lady, had any idea until late last night,” he said, taking both her hands in his for a long friendly sympathetic pressure.
“I might have known that if it had been possible you would have told me,” she said.
“You know,” she added, “I don’t believe it yet. I don’t realize it. I go about these formalities——”
“I think I can understand that.”
“He was always, you know, not quite here.... It is as if he were a little more not quite here.... I can’t believe it is over....”
She asked a number of questions and took the doctor’s advice upon various details of the arrangements. “My daughter Helen comes home to-morrow afternoon,” she explained. “She is in Paris. But our son is far, far away in the Punjab. I have sent him a telegram.... It is so kind of you to come in to me.”
Dr. Martineau went more than half way to meet Lady Hardy’s disposition to treat him as a friend of the family. He had conceived a curious, half maternal affection for Sir Richmond that had survived even the trying incident of the Salisbury parting and revived very rapidly during the last few weeks. This affection extended itself now to Lady Hardy. Hers was a type that had always appealed to him. He could understand so well the perplexed loyalty with which she was now setting herself to gather together some pre-