Carrissima, not wishing to fail in her filial duty, went down-stairs to meet him in the hall, as the butler was helping him off with his thick overcoat. "Ah, Carrissima!" he exclaimed at the top of his voice, "I'm sorry I didn't wire; but, to tell you the truth, I forgot all about it. Well, how are you quite well? Glad to see me back again, eh?" "Very glad indeed," was the dutiful answer.
At length, having satisfied himself that neither it nor the hen was in the room, he concluded that they must be in Max's overcoat pockets, and told him so the moment he returned. "No, they are not, unless some one has put them there since I went up-stairs," said Max. "But I don't believe in them, Walter. I think they were only make believe."
The Professor, in a borrowed overcoat and cap, was reclining at full length, studying a book on seagulls which he had found in the library. Laura and Lenora were both dozing tranquilly. Mr. Harris of Scotland Yard was deep in a volume of detective stories. "As a pleasure cruise," Quest remarked grimly, "this little excursion seems to be a complete success." Laura opened her eyes at once.
"I've often taken it myself an', rain or shine, thar's not a prettier road in all Virginny," then he moved humbly back as Dan, carelessly drawing on his gloves, came down the steps. "I hope we haven't hurried you, suh," he stammered. "Not a bit not a bit," returned Dan, affably, slipping on his overcoat, which Big Abel had run up to hold for him.
The rest trooped after him, while Stanhope made his way with difficulty on the opposite bank, where there was no path. His progress therefore was slow; and Elsie saw that if she did not linger he would be left behind. Common politeness forbade this, and so she soon found herself alone, carrying his overcoat on one bank, and he keeping pace with her on the other.
It cut like a knife through Courtland's heavy overcoat and made him wish he had brought his muffler. He stuffed his gloved hands into his pockets. Even in their fur linings they were stiff and cold.
"Field kits; all the cooked rations you have on hand; overcoat, blanket, extra socks and underclothes; every cartridge you've got; haversack and canteen, and nothing else. Now get ready, lively!" How irrepressible is the cheer that goes up! How we pity the swells of the light battery who have to stay!
"I am a small person," proceeded the man with black whiskers, "scarcely any larger than you. I think it'll be a good fit." "Must I lose my overcoat, too?" thought Harry, in trouble. "You've got an overcoat of your own, sir," he said. "You don't need mine." "Oh, I wouldn't rob you of yours on any account. A fair exchange is no robbery. I am going to give you mine in exchange for yours."
He paused in putting on his overcoat as if thinking better of it, while even the more fortunate and contiguous Wingate languidly lapsed against the counter again. The moment was a critical one. Billings was evidently also regretfully eying the chair he had just quitted. Harkutt resolved on a heroic effort.
Yet its level utterance fell like a bomb among the little company. The curtain separating this from the inner room had been drawn a few feet back, and Bellamy was standing there, in black overcoat and white muffler, his silk hat on the back of his head, his left hand, carefully gloved, resting still upon the curtain which he had drawn aside.