“My God, then,” he exclaimed furiously, “I’ll keep my word!—Mayfair 67.—I’ll drag you through the dust, my lady,” he went on. “You shall be the heroine of one of those squalid divorce cases you’ve spoken of so scornfully. You shall crawl through life a divorcee, made an honest woman through the generosity of an American adventurer!—67, Mayfair, I said.”
Phipps shook his head sorrowfully.
“My friend,” he said, “this is useless bluster. Put down the telephone. Let us talk the matter out squarely. Your methods are a little too melodramatic.”
“Go to hell!” Dredlinton shouted. “You are too much out for compromises, Phipps. There are times when one must strike.—Exchange! I say, Exchange! Why the devil can’t you give me Mayfair 67?—What’s that?—An urgent call?—Well, go on, then. Out with it.—Who’s speaking? Mr. Stanley Rees’ servant?—Yes, yes! I’m Lord Dredlinton. Get on with it.”
There was a moment of intense silence. Dredlinton was listening, indifferently at first, then as though spellbound, his lips a little parted, his cheeks colourless, his eyes filled with a strange terror. Presently he laid down the receiver, although he failed to replace it. He turned very slowly around, and his eyes, still filled with a haunting fear, sought Wingate’s.
“Stanley has disappeared!” he gasped. “He had one of those letters last night. It lies on his table now, his servant says. There was a noise in his room at four o’clock this morning. When they called him—–he had gone! No one has seen or heard of him since!”
“Stanley disappeared?” Phipps repeated in a dazed tone.
“There’s been foul play!” Dredlinton cried hoarsely. “His servant is sure of it!”
Wingate picked up his hat and stick and moved towards the door. From the threshold he looked back, waiting whilst Josephine joined him.
“Youth,” he said calmly, “must be served. Stanley Rees was, I believe, the youngest director on the Board of the British and Imperial Granaries. Now, if you like, Mr. Phipps, I’ll come on to your market. I’m a seller of a hundred thousand bushels of wheat at to-day’s price.”
“Go to hell!” Phipps shouted, his face black with rage.
Roger Kendrick was in and disengaged when Wingate called upon him, a few minutes later. He welcomed his visitor cordially.
“That was a pretty good list you gave me the other day, Wingate,” he remarked, “You’ve made money. You’re making it still.”
“Good!” Wingate commented, with a nod of satisfaction. “I dare say I shall need it all. Close up everything, Kendrick.”
“The devil! One or two of your things are going strong, you know.”
“Take profits and close up,” Wingate directed. “I’ve another commission for you.”
“One moment, then.”
Kendrick hurried into the outer office and gave some brief instructions. His client picked up the tape and studied it until his return.