Mrs. Deane held up her finger, and a tall footman, touching his hat, hurried away.
“James has seen us,” she said. “The carriage will be here in a moment. I am going to speak to Lady Engelton. Will you look after Stella for a moment, Mr. Vine?”
She turned away to speak to a little group of people who were standing in one of the entrances. Stella and Vine stepped outside to escape the crush, and Stella suddenly seized his arm.
“Look in that hansom,” she said, pointing out to the street.
Vine’s eyes followed her finger. He recognized Littleson, and with him a man in morning clothes and low hat, a man whose face seemed familiar to him, but whom he failed to recognize.
“I think,” she said, drawing a little closer to him, “that you must not hesitate any longer, if ever you mean to strike that blow. You saw Peter Littleson.”
“Yes!” he answered, “I have been talking to him.”
“Do you know who that was with him?”
Vine shook his head.
“I can’t remember,” he said.
“That is Dan Prince,” she whispered. “You know who he is. They call him the most dangerous criminal unhanged. I should like to know what Littleson wants with him.”
Vine smiled a little grimly, as he stepped forward to help Mrs. Deane into the carriage.
“I think,” he murmured, “I can guess.”
MR. MILDMAY AGAIN
It was her third day in London, and Virginia was discouraged. Neither at the Embassy nor at his club had she been able to obtain any tidings of the man of whom she was in search. There remained only a list of places given her in New York by his servant, where he was likely to be met. She went through them conscientiously, but without the slightest success. Gradually she began to realize the difficulty, perhaps the hopelessness, of her task. To find the man in London with such scanty information as she possessed was difficult enough, and there remained the question, as yet unanswered in her thoughts, as to what she would say or do if chance ever should bring them face to face.
Her experiences in those days became almost a nightmare to her. Dressed always in her quietest clothes, and with her natural reserve of manner intensified by the circumstances in which she found herself, she was yet more than once supremely uncomfortable. She became used to the doubtful looks of the waiters to whom she presented herself and asked for a table alone, at the different restaurants on her list. She found herself often at such times the only unescorted woman in the place, and the cynosure of a good many curious glances. Even when there were other women, they were of a class which she instinctively recognized, and from whom she shrank. But of actual adventures she had few. Apart from the fact of her appearing alone, there was nothing in her manner to invite attention.