Philip fetched his hat, and the two men stepped out on to the pavement. A servant in quiet grey livery held open the door of an enormous motor car. Sylvanus Power beckoned his companion to precede him.
“Home,” he told the man, “unless,” he added, turning to Philip, “you’d rather go to your rooms?”
“I am quite indifferent,” Philip replied.
They drove off in absolute silence, a silence which remained unbroken until they passed through some elaborate iron gates and drew up before a mansion in Fifth Avenue.
“You’ll wait,” Sylvanus Power ordered, “and take this gentleman home. This way, sir.”
The doors rolled open before them. Philip caught a vista of a wonderful hall, with a domed roof and stained glass windows, and a fountain playing from some marble statuary at the further end. A personage in black took his coat and hat. The door of a dining room stood open. A table, covered with a profusion of flowers, was laid, and places set for two. Mr. Sylvanus Power turned abruptly to a footman.
“You can have that cleared away,” he directed harshly. “No supper will be required.”
He swung around and led the way into a room at the rear of the hall, a room which, in comparison with Philip’s confused impressions of the rest of the place, was almost plainly furnished. There was a small oak sideboard, upon which was set out whisky and soda and cigars; a great desk, covered with papers, before which a young man was seated; two telephone instruments and a phonograph. The walls were lined with books. The room itself was long and narrow. Power turned to the young man.
“You can go to bed, George,” he ordered. “Disconnect the telephones.”
The young man gathered up some papers, locked the desk in silence, bowed to his employer, and left the room without a word. Power waited until the door was closed. Then he stood up with his back to the fireplace and pointed to a chair.
“You can sit, if you like,” he invited. “Drink or smoke if you want to. You’re welcome.”
“Thank you,” Philip replied. “I’d rather stand.”
“You don’t want even to take a chair in my house, I suppose,” Mr. Sylvanus Power went on mockingly, “or drink my whisky or smoke my cigars, eh?”
“From the little I have seen of you,” Philip confessed, “my inclinations are certainly against accepting any hospitality at your hands.”
“That’s a play-writing trick, I suppose,” Sylvanus Power sneered, “stringing out your sentences as pat as butter. It’s not my way. There’s the truth always at the back of my head, and the words ready to fit it, but they come as they please.”
“I seem to have noticed that,” Philip observed.
“What sort of a man are you, anyway?” the other demanded, his heavy eyebrows suddenly lowering, his wonderful, keen eyes riveted upon Philip. “Can I buy you, I wonder, or threaten you?”