“Young ladies, yes,” Selingman admitted. “It chanced that they were both well-known to me. But who else?”
Norgate made no reply. He felt that his companion was watching him.
“It is something,” he remarked, “to find charming young ladies in a strange place to dine with one.”
Selingman smiled broadly.
“If we travelled together often, my young friend,” he said, “you would discover that I have friends everywhere. If I have nothing else to do, I go out and make a friend. Then, when I revisit that place, it loses its coldness. There is some one there to welcome me, some one who is glad to see me again. Look steadily in that direction, a few points to the left of the bows. In two hours’ time you will see the lights of your country. I have friends there, too, who will welcome me. Meantime, I go below to sleep. You have a cabin?”
Norgate shook his head.
“I shall doze on deck for a little time,” he said. “It is too wonderful a night to go below.”
“It is well for me that it is calm,” Selingman acknowledged. “I do not love the sea. Shall we part for a little time? If we meet not at Dover, then in London, my young friend. London is the greatest city in the world, but it is the smallest place in Europe. One cannot move in the places one knows of without meeting one’s friends.”
“Until we meet in London, then,” Norgate observed, as he settled himself down in his chair.
Norgate spent an utterly fruitless morning on the day after his arrival in London. After a lengthy but entirely unsatisfactory visit to the Foreign Office, he presented himself soon after midday at Scotland Yard.
“I should like,” he announced, “to see the Chief Commissioner of the Police.”
The official to whom he addressed his enquiry eyed him tolerantly.
“Have you, by any chance, an appointment?” he asked.
“None,” Norgate admitted. “I only arrived from the Continent this morning.”
The policeman shook his head slowly.
“It is quite impossible, sir,” he said, “to see Sir Philip without an appointment. Your best course would be to write and state your business, and his secretary will then fix a time for you to call.”
“Very much obliged to you, I’m sure,” Norgate replied. “However, my business is urgent, and if I can’t see Sir Philip Morse, I will see some one else in authority.”
Norgate was regaled with a copy of The Times and a seat in a barely-furnished waiting-room. In about twenty minutes he was told that a Mr. Tyritt would see him, and was promptly shown into the presence of that gentleman. Mr. Tyritt was a burly and black-bearded person of something more than middle-age. He glanced down at Norgate’s card in a somewhat puzzled manner and motioned him to a seat.
“What can I do for you, sir?” he enquired. “Sir Philip is very much engaged for the next few days, but perhaps you can tell me your business?”