“I will return for my change another evening,” he said to the dumbfounded waiter. “If you are ready, Baroness.”
They left the restaurant amid an intense hush. Norgate waited deliberately whilst the door was somewhat unwillingly held open for him by a maitre d’hotel, but outside the Baroness’s automobile was summoned at once. She placed her fingers upon Norgate’s arm, and he felt that she was shivering.
“Please do not take me home,” she faltered. “I am so sorry—so very sorry.”
He laughed. “But why?” he protested. “The young fellow behaved like a cub, but no one offered him any provocation. I should think by this time he is probably heartily ashamed of himself. May I come and see you to-morrow?”
“Telephone me,” she begged, as she gave him her hand through the window. “You don’t quite understand. Please telephone to me.”
She suddenly clutched his hand with both of hers and then fell back out of sight among the cushions. Norgate remained upon the pavement until the car had disappeared. Then he looked back once more into the restaurant and strolled across the brilliantly-lit street towards the Embassy.
Norgate, during his month’s stay in Berlin, had already adopted regular habits. On the following morning he was called at eight o’clock and rode for two hours in the fashionable precincts of the city. The latter portion of the time he spent looking in vain for a familiar figure in a green riding-habit. The Baroness, however, did not appear. At ten o’clock Norgate returned to the Embassy, bathed and breakfasted, and a little after eleven made his way round to the business quarters. One of his fellow-workers there glanced up and nodded at his arrival.
“Where’s the Chief?” Norgate enquired.
“Gone down to the Palace,” the other young man, whose name was Ansell, replied; “telephoned for the first thing this morning. Ghastly habit William has of getting up at seven o’clock and suddenly remembering that he wants to talk diplomacy. The Chief will be furious all day now.”
Norgate lit a cigarette and began to open his letters. Ansell, however, was in a discoursive mood. He swung around from his desk and leaned back in his chair.
“How can a man,” he demanded, “see a question from the same point of view at seven o’clock in the morning and seven o’clock in the evening? Absolutely impossible, you know. That’s what’s the matter with our versatile friend up yonder. He gets all aroused over some scheme or other which comes to him in the dead of night, hops out of bed before any one civilised is awake, and rings up for ambassadors. Then at night-time he becomes normal again and takes everything back. The consequence is that this place is a regular diplomatic see-saw. Settling down in Berlin pretty well, aren’t you, Norgate?”
“Very nicely, thanks,” the latter replied.