Miss Thorne turned flatly and faced him.
“We are not beaten yet,” she said slowly. “If all things go well we—we are not beaten yet.”
The Lusitania was rounding Montauk Point when the wireless brought her to half-speed with a curt message:
“Isabel Thorne and Pietro Petrozinni aboard Lusitania wanted on warrants charging conspiracy. Tug-boat will take them off, intercepting you beyond Montauk Point.
“CAMPBELL, Secret Service.”
“What does that mean?” asked the prince, bewildered.
“It means that the compact will be signed in Washington in spite of Mr. Grimm,” and there was the glitter of triumph in her eyes. “With the aid of one of the maids in the depot at Jersey City I managed to get a telegram of explanation and instruction to De Foe in New York, and this is the result. He signed Mr. Campbell’s name, I suppose, to give weight to the message.”
An hour later a tug-boat came alongside, and they went aboard.
THE LIGHT IN THE DOME
From where he sat, in a tiny alcove which jutted out and encroached upon the line of the sidewalk, Mr. Grimm looked down on Pennsylvania Avenue, the central thread of Washington, ever changing, always brilliant, splashed at regular intervals with light from high-flung electric arcs. The early theater crowd was in the street, well dressed, well fed, careless for the moment of all things save physical comfort and amusement; automobiles, carriages, cabs, cars flowed past endlessly; and yet Mr. Grimm saw naught of it. In the distance, at one end of the avenue the dome of the capitol cleft the shadows of night, and a single light sparkled at its apex; in the other direction, at the left of the treasury building which abruptly blocks the wide thoroughfare, were the shimmering windows of the White House.
Motionless, moody, thoughtful, Mr. Grimm sat staring, staring straight ahead, comprehending none of these things which lay before him as in a panorama. Instead, his memory was conjuring up a pair of subtle, blue-gray eyes, now pleading, now coquettish, now frankly defiant; two slim, white, wonderful hands; the echo of a pleasant, throaty laugh; a splendid, elusive, radiant-haired phantom. Truly, a woman of mystery! Who was this Isabel Thorne who, for months past, had been the storm-center and directing mind of a vast international intrigue which threatened the world with war? Who, this remarkable young woman who with ease and assurance commanded ambassadors and played nations as pawns?
Now that she was safely out of the country Mr. Grimm had leisure to speculate. Upon him had devolved the duty of blocking her plans, and he had done so—merciless alike of his own feeling and of hers. Hesitation or evasion had never occurred to him. It was a thing to be done, and he did it. He wondered if she had understood, there at the last beside the rail? He wondered if she knew the struggle it had cost him deliberately to send her out of his life? Or had even surmised that her expulsion from the country, by his direct act, was wholly lacking in the exaltation of triumph to him; that it struck deeper than that, below the listless, official exterior, into his personal happiness? And wondering, he knew that she did understand.