CHASE PERFORMS A MIRACLE
Hollingsworth Chase now felt that he was on neutral ground with the Princess Genevra. He could hardly credit his senses. When he left Rapp-Thorberg in disgrace some months before, his susceptibilities were in a most thoroughly chastened condition; a cat might look at a king, but he had forsworn peeping into the secret affairs of princesses.
His strange connection with the Skaggs will case is easily explained. After leaving Thorberg he went directly to Paris; thence, after ten days, to London, where he hoped to get on as a staff correspondent for one of the big dailies. One day at the Savage Club, he listened to a recital of the amazing conditions which attended the execution of Skaggs’s will. He had shot wild game in South Africa with Sir John Brodney, chief counsellor for the islanders, and, as luck would have it, was to lunch with him on the following day at the Savoy.
His soul hungered for excitement, novelty. The next day, when Sir John suddenly proposed that he go out to Japat as the firm’s representative, he leaped at the chance. There would be no difficulty about certain little irregularities, such as his nationality and the fact that he was not a member of the London bar: Sir John stood sponsor for him, and the islanders would take him on faith.
In truth, Rasula was more than glad to have the services of an American. He had heard Wyckholme talk of the manner in which civil causes were conducted and tried in the United States, and he felt that one Yankee on the scene was worth ten Englishmen at home. Doubtless he got his impressions of the genus Englishman by observation of the devoted Bowles.
The good-looking Mr. Chase, writhing under the dread of exposure as an international jackass, welcomed the opportunity to get as far away from civilisation as possible. He knew that the Prince Karl story would not lie dormant. It would be just as well for him if he were where the lash of ridicule could not reach him, for he was thin-skinned.
We know how and when he came to the island and we have renewed our short acquaintance with him under peculiar circumstances. It would be sadly remiss, however, to suppress the information that he could not banish the fair face of the Princess Genevra from his thoughts during the long voyage; nor would it be stretching the point to say that his day dreams were of her as he sat and smoked in his bungalow porch.
Before Chase left London, Sir John Brodney bluntly cautioned him against the dangers that lurked in Lady Deppingham’s eyes.
“She won’t leave you a peg to stand on, Chase, if you seek an encounter,” he said. “She’s pretty and she’s clever, and she’s made fools of better men than you, my boy. I don’t say she’s a bad lot, because she’s too smart for that. But I will say that a dozen men are in love with her to-day. I suppose you’ll say that she can’t help that. I’m only warning you on the presumption that they don’t seem to be able to help it, either. Remember, my boy, you are going out there to offset, not to beset, Lady Deppingham.”