Page:Miss Mapp.djvu/249

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245
MISS MAPP

searchlight, it was strongly improbable that anything of a very intimate nature was going on there ... it was not likely that they would choose the drawing-room window. She thought of calling on Mr. Wyse and asking for the loan of a book, so that she would see whether the sables were in the hall, but even then she would not really be much further on. Even as she considered this a sea-mist began to creep through the street outside, and in a few minutes it was blotted from view. Nothing was visible, and nothing audible but the hissing of the shrouded rain.

Suddenly from close outside came the sound of a door-knocker imperiously plied, which could be no other than her own. Only a telegram or some urgent errand could bring anyone out on such a day, and unable to bear the suspense of waiting till Withers had answered it, she hurried into the house to open the door herself. Was the news of the engagement coming to her at last? Late though it was, she would welcome it even now, for it would atone, in part at any rate.... It was Diva.

“Diva dear!” said Miss Mapp enthusiastically, for Withers was already in the hall. “How sweet of you to come round. Anything special?”

“Yes,” said Diva, opening her eyes very wide, and spreading a shower of moisture as she whisked off her mackintosh. “She’s come.”

This could not refer to Susan....

“Who?” asked Miss Mapp.

“Faradiddleony,” said Diva.

“No!” said Miss Mapp very loud, so much interested that she quite forgot to resent Diva’s being the first to have the news. “Let’s have a comfortable cup of tea in the garden-room. Tea, Withers.”