"A nightingale! How lovely! I hope they may find it. It shouldn't prove so arduous as the quest of the meteor-bird. I do hope that those children will not catch cold. It is a trifle imprudent."
"Going off that way with nothing on their heads."
"Or in them. Happy children!" cried a moralizing novelist, who was smoking an extremely good cigar--it had not come from his own tobacconist.
"We can't all be novel-writers," said one of the women.
"Thank the Lord!" said one of the men, with genuine piety.
In three-quarters of an hour the members of the quest party returned. They had been fully rewarded for their trouble; they had been listening to the nightingale for nearly twenty minutes, they said; it had been very lovely, they agreed, without a single dissentient voice. It probably was; at any rate they were very silent for the rest of the night.
"You have begun well," said Ella to Herbert, when they found themselves together in the drawing room, later on, shortly before midnight. Someone was playing on the piano, so that the general conversation and yawning were not interfered with. "You have begun well. You will soon get to know her if your others days here are like to-day. That nightingale! Oh, yes, you will soon get to know her."
"I doubt it," said he, in a low tone. His eyes were turned in the direction of Phyllis. She was on a seat at an open window, the twilight of moonlight and lamplight glimmering about her hair. "I doubt it. It takes a man such as I am a long time to know such a girl as Phyllis Ayrton."