“How can I do that?”
And she had protested her gratitude to him! He knew that she was lying. Anger welled in Lanyard’s heart, but he was able to hold it in leash and let no sign of it show in manner or expression.
“You have much influence,” he suggested, “here in Paris, with people of many classes. A word from you here, a question there, pressure exerted in certain quarters, will help me more than all the powers of Prefecture and Surete combined. You know that.”
“Let me think.” She was staring at the floor. “You must give me time. I will do what I can, I promise you that. Perhaps”—she met his gaze again, but he saw something crafty in her smile—“I have a scheme already in mind. We will discuss that in the morning, when I have slept on it.”
“You give me new hope.” Lanyard finished his drink and made as if to rise, but relapsed, a spasm of pain knotting his face. “Afraid I must have a cab,” he said in a low voice. “And if you could lend me a coat of some sort to cover these rags....”
And indeed his ready-made evening clothes had fared badly in their first social adventure.
“But if you think I dream of letting you leave this house—in pain and perhaps to run into the arms of the police—you little know me, Monsieur Michael Lanyard!”
“Paul Martin, if you don’t mind.”
“The guest rooms are there.” She waved a hand to indicate the front part of the house on that floor. “You will find everything you need to make you comfortable for to-night, and in the morning I will send to the Chatham for your things.... Or perhaps it would be wiser to wait till we are sure the police are not watching there for your return. But if they are, it will be a simple matter to find suitable clothing for you. Meanwhile we will have arrived at an understanding.... You comprehend, monsieur, I am resolved, this affair is now arranged?”
“I am well content, Liane.”
And that was true enough; whatever she had in mind for him, she was only playing into his hands when she proposed to keep him near her. He managed to get out of the chair, and accepted the offer of her arm, but held back for a moment.
“But your servants...”
“Well, monsieur, what of them?”
“For one thing, they sleep sincerely.”
“There are sound-proof walls between their part of the house and this. More than that, they are forbidden to intrude, no matter what may happen, unless I summon them.”
“But in the morning, Liane, when they regard this wreckage... I am afraid they will think me a tempestuous lover!”
“They will find me a tempestuous mistress,” promised Liane Delorme, “when I question them about that open door.”
BROTHER AND SISTER
The storm had passed off, an ardent noonday sun was collaborating with a coquettish breeze to make gay the window awnings of the chamber where Lanyard, in borrowed pyjamas and dressing-gown of silk, lay luxuriously bedded, listening to the purr of wide-awake Paris and, with an excellent cigar to chew on, ruminating upon the problematic issue of his latest turn of fortune, and not in the least downhearted about it.