Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/35

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LADY HARDY

Such thoughts engaged him until he found himself in his study. His desk and his writing table were piled high with a heavy burthen of work. Still a little preoccupied with Dr. Martineau’s exposition, he began to handle this confusion....

At half past nine he found himself with three hours of good work behind him. It had seemed like two. He had not worked like this for many weeks. “This is very cheering,” he said. “And unexpected. Can old Moon-face have hypnotized me? Anyhow—... Perhaps I’ve only imagined I was ill.... Dinner?” He looked at his watch and was amazed at the time. “Good Lord! I’ve been at it three hours. What can have happened? Funny I didn’t hear the gong.”

He went downstairs and found Lady Hardy reading a magazine in a dining-room armchair and finely poised between devotion and martyrdom. A shadow of vexation fell athwart his mind at the sight of her.

“I’d no idea it was so late,” he said. “I heard no gong.”

“After you swore so at poor Bradley I ordered that there should be no gongs when we were alone. I did come up to your door about half past eight. I crept up. But I was afraid I might upset you if I came in.”

“But you’ve not waited——”

“I’ve had a mouthful of soup.” Lady Hardy rang the bell.