“It sounds very interesting,” Norgate confessed. “I had an idea that you were proposing something quite different.”
“To be perfectly frank with you,” Norgate acknowledged, “I thought you wanted me to do the ordinary spy business—traces of fortresses, and particulars about guns and aeroplanes—”
“Rubbish, my dear fellow!” Selingman interrupted. “Rubbish! Those things we leave to our military department, and pray that the question of their use may never arise. We are concerned wholly with economic and social questions, and our great aim is not war but peace.”
“Very well, then,” Norgate decided, “I accept. When shall I start?”
Selingman laid his hand upon the other’s shoulder as he rose to his feet.
“Young man,” he said, “you have come to a wise decision. Your salary will commence from the first of this month. Continue to live as usual. Let me have the opportunity of seeing you at the club, and let me know each day where you can be found. I will give you your instructions from day to day. You will be doing a great work, and, mind you, a patriotic work. If ever your conscience should trouble you, remember that. You are working not for Germany but for England.”
“I will always remember that,” Norgate promised, as he turned away.
Norgate found Anna waiting for him in the hall of the smaller hotel, a little further westward, to which she had moved. He looked admiringly at her cool white muslin gown and the perfection of her somewhat airy toilette.
“You are five minutes late,” she remonstrated.
“I had to go into the city,” he apologised. “It was rather an important engagement. Soon I must tell you all about it.”
She looked at him a little curiously.
“I will be patient,” promised Anna, “and ask no questions.”
“You are still depressed?”
“Horribly,” she confessed. “I do not know why, but London is getting on my nerves. It is so hatefully, stubbornly, obstinately imperturbable. I would find another word, but it eludes me. I think you would call it smug. And it is so noisy. Can we not go somewhere for lunch where it is tranquil, where one can rest and get away from this roar?”
“We could go to Ranelagh, if you liked,” suggested Norgate. “There are some polo matches on this afternoon, but it will be quiet enough for lunch.”
“I should love it!” she exclaimed. “Let us go quickly.”
They lunched in a shady corner of the restaurant and sat afterwards under a great oak tree in a retired spot at the further end of the gardens. Anna was still a little thoughtful.
“Do you know,” she told her companion, “that I have received a hint to present myself in Berlin as soon as possible?”
“Are you going?” Norgate demanded quickly.
“I am not sure,” she answered. “I feel that I must, and yet, in a sense, I do not like to go. I have a feeling that they do not mean to let me out of Berlin again. They think that I know too much.”