“Virginia has gone!” he answered, “left her rooms, left no address behind her. What a fool I was not to follow her up last night! She waited until this morning. She must have expected that I would come, and I didn’t. I was a d——d silly ass!”
Lady Medlincourt yawned.
“Have you come here to tell me that, my dear Guy?” she said. “So unnecessary! You might at least have telephoned it.”
“Look here,” he said, “we were too rough on her yesterday afternoon. I made no conditions as to what she should tell me when I asked her to be my wife. I was quite content that she should say yes. I know she’s all right; I feel it, and she’s the only girl I shall ever care a fig for!”
“I really cannot see,” Lady Medlincourt murmured, “why you should drag me from my bed to talk such rubbish. If you feel like that, go and look for her. It is open for you to marry whom you choose, the lady who is selling primroses at the corner of the Square if you wish. The only thing is that you cannot expect your friends to marry her too. What did you come here for, advice or sympathy? I have none of the latter for you, and you wouldn’t take the former. Do, there’s a good boy, leave me! I want to have my bath, and the hairdresser is waiting.”
Guy turned on his heel and left the house. There was only one thing left to be done, although he hated doing it. He went to the office of a private detective.
“Mind,” he said, when he had told them what he wanted, “I will not have the young lady worried or annoyed in any form if you should happen to find her. Simply let me know where she is living. The rest is my affair. You understand?”
“Perfectly!” the man answered. “We are to spare no expense, I presume?”
It did him good to be able to answer fervently, “None whatever, only find her!”
MR. DUGE THREATENS
The morning papers were full of the news. Phineas Duge had landed in London! The Stock Exchange was fluttered. Those whose hands were upon the money-markets of the world paused to turn their heads towards the hotel where he had taken a suite of rooms. Interviewers, acquaintances, actual and imaginary, beggars for themselves and for others, left their cards and hung around. In the hotel they spoke of him with bated breath, as though something of divinity attached itself to the person of the man whose power for good or for evil was so far-reaching.
Meanwhile Phineas Duge, who had had a tiresome voyage, and who was not a little fatigued, slept during the greater part of the morning following his arrival, with his faithful valet encamped outside the door. The first guest to be admitted, when at last he chose to rise, was Littleson. It was close upon luncheon time, and the two men descended together to the grillroom of the hotel.
“A quiet luncheon and a quiet corner,” Littleson suggested, “some place where we can talk. Duge, it’s good to see you in London. I feel somehow that with you on the spot we are safe.”