Merrill was at the front door when his father caught him. Looking at Merrill’s ex-military clothing with disfavour he asked, “Where are you going dressed like that?”
“There’s a concert-dance about ten miles away,” Merrill replied. “I expect I’ll be back by half midnight.”
His father asked, “Where is it, exactly? And how will you get there?”
“I don’t know exactly where it is, yet,” admitted Merrill, “but I’ve the map coordinates, and I’m taking my bike.”
“Oh, yes, this famous bike,” his father sneered. “You’re going to ride ten miles and back on a tinny little motorbike are you? With time to dance in between? You’re joking!.”
“I’m not,” replied Merrill calmly.
His father snorted. “You’d better get this nonsense out of your system before the Makepeaces get here. He wants Lord Merrill Dempstead as a son-in-law, not some ill-dressed bit of war detritus and you don’t have any better prospects than a rich pleb’s daughter.”
“So you say, sir,” Merrill bowed, “And now I’m going out.”
Ten minutes later, a solid motorcycle helmet added to his fusillers’ great coat Merrill pulled up outside Chapman’s door. The mechanic came out wearing his tank corps coat and boots. “I’ve marked the map for you,” he said. “After checking it twice.” He swapped the helmet for it.
“Good,” said Merrill. “You can court Mindy, and I can forget who I’m supposed to be for a while. Let’s go.”