• She stretched out her hand, saying, “Vernon! My dear, what a delightful surprise!” “What’s surprising about it?” he enquired, lifting his black brows. “Didn’t you ask me to come?” The smile remained pinned to Lady Buxted’s lips, but she replied with more than a touch of acidity: “To be sure I did, but so many days ago that I supposed you had gone out of town!” “Oh, no!” he said, returning her smile with one of great sweetness.