Gaydon turned to the director and remarked:
“I told you how it would be.”
Then he rushed after his patient, caught him by the arm, and led him, without any attempt at resistance, into the pavilion and closed the door.
The Count d’Artigas remained alone with the director, Captain Spade having strolled off again in the direction of the wall at the bottom of the park.
“You see I was not guilty of exaggeration, Count,” said the director. “It is obvious to every one that Thomas Roch is becoming daily worse. In my opinion his case is a hopeless one. If all the money he asks for were offered to him, nothing could be got from him.”
“Very likely,” replied the Count, “still, if his pecuniary demands are supremely absurd, he has none the less invented an engine the power of which is infinite, one might say.”
“That is the opinion expressed by competent persons, Count. But what he has discovered will ere long be lost with himself in one of these fits which are becoming more frequent and intense. Very soon even the motive of interest, the only sentiment that appears to have survived in his mind, will become extinct.”
“Mayhap the sentiment of hatred will remain, though,” muttered the Count, as Spade joined them at the garden gate.
Half an hour later the Count d’Artigas and Captain Spade were following the beech-lined road that separated the Healthful House estate from the right bank of the Neuse. Both had taken leave of the director, the latter declaring himself greatly honored by their visit, and the former thanking him warmly for his courteous reception. A hundred-dollar bill left as a tip for the staff of the establishment had certainly not belied the Count’s reputation for generosity. He was—there could be no doubt about it—a foreigner of the highest distinction, if distinction be measured by generosity.
Issuing by the gate at the main entrance to Healthful House, they had skirted the wall that surrounded the property, and which was high enough to preclude the possibility of climbing it. Not a word passed between them for some time; the Count was deep in thought and Captain Spade was not in the habit of addressing him without being first spoken to.
At last when they stood beneath the rear wall behind which, though it was not visible, the Count knew Pavilion No. 17 was situated, he said:
“You managed, I presume, to thoroughly explore the place, and are acquainted with every detail of it?”
“Certainly, Count” replied Captain Spade, emphasizing the title.
“You are perfectly sure about it?”
“Perfectly. I could go through the park with my eyes shut. If you still persist in carrying out your scheme the pavilion can be easily reached.”
“I do persist, Spade.”