“Prince Herschfeld wants to talk to me for a few minutes,” she whispered. “I think I should like to hear what he has to say. The Princess is there, too, whom I have scarcely seen. Will you come and be presented?”
“Might I leave you with them for a few minutes?” Norgate suggested. “There is a man here whom I want to talk to. I will come back for you in half an hour.”
“You must meet the Prince first,” she insisted. “He was interested when he heard who you were.”
She turned to the little group who were awaiting her return. The Ambassador moved a little forward.
“Prince,” she said, “may I present to you Mr. Francis Norgate? Mr. Norgate has just come from Berlin.”
“Not with the kindliest feelings towards us, I am afraid,” remarked the Prince, holding out his hand. “I hope, however, that you will not judge us, as a nation, too severely.”
“On the contrary, I was quite prepared to like Germany,” Norgate declared. “I was simply the victim of a rather unfortunate happening.”
“There are many others besides myself who sincerely regret it,” the Prince said courteously. “You are kind enough to leave the Baroness for a little time in our charge. We will take the greatest care of her, and I hope that when you return you will give me the great pleasure of presenting you to the Princess.”
“You are very kind,” Norgate murmured.
“We shall meet again, then,” the Prince declared, as he turned away with Anna by his side.
“In half an hour,” Anna whispered, smiling at him over her shoulder.
The Right Honourable John William Hebblethwaite strolled along by the rails of the polo ground, exchanging greetings with friends, feeling very well content with himself and the world generally. A difficult session was drawing towards an end. The problem which had defeated so many governments seemed at last, under his skilful treatment, capable of solution. Furthermore, the session had been one which had added to his reputation both as an orator and a statesman. There had been an astonishingly flattering picture of him in an illustrated paper that week, and he was exceedingly pleased with the effect of the white hat which he was wearing at almost a jaunty angle. He was a great man and he knew it. Nevertheless, he greeted Norgate with ample condescension and engaged him at once in conversation.
“Delighted to see you in such company, my young friend,” he declared. “I think that half an hour’s conversation with Prince Herschfeld would put some of those fire-eating ideas out of your head. That’s the man whom we have to thank for the everyday improvement of our relations with Germany.”
“The Prince has the reputation of being a great diplomatist,” Norgate remarked.
“Added to which,” Hebblethwaite continued, “he came over here charged, as you might say, almost with a special mission. He came over here to make friends with England. He has done it. So long as we have him in London, there will never be any serious fear of misunderstanding between the two countries.”