Miss Sally took it and read:—
“Coming Fair Anchor, 4.30 Tuesday. Chandon.”
She knit her brows and examined the telegraph form carefully. The message was forwarded from Fair Anchor. It had been handed in at the Monte Carlo post office on Sunday night, addressed to Culvercoombe, but at what hour she could not decipher. The Fair Anchor office was closed on Sunday, and opened on Monday at eight o’clock. The telegram had been received there at 8.12; had been taken to Culvercoombe, and apparently re-transmitted at 12.15. All this was unimportant. But how on earth had her telegram, to which this was evidently a reply, reached Monte Carlo on Sunday evening—last evening?
She considered awhile, and hit on the explanation. Parson Chichester last evening, calling on the coast-guard in his search, must have used their telephone and got the message through by some office open on Sundays.
“O, who lives on the Island,
Betwix’ the sea an’ the sky?
—I think it must be a lady, a lady,
I think it must be a genuwine lady,
She carries her head so high.”—OLD BALLAD.
In the moonlit garden of the Casino at Monte Carlo Miles Chandon smoked a cigar pensively, leaning against the low wall that overlooks the pigeon-shooters’ enclosure, the railway station and the foreshore. He was alone, as always. That a man who, since the great folly of his life, had obstinately cultivated solitude should make holiday in Monte Carlo, of all places, is paradoxical enough; but in truth the crowd around the tables, the diners at the hotel, the pigeon-shooters, the whole cosmopolitan gathering of idle rich and predatory poor, were a Spectacle to him and no more. If once or twice a day he staked a few napoleons on black or red in the inner room of the Casino, it was as a man, finding himself at Homburg or Marienbad, might take a drink of the waters from curiosity and to fill up the time. He made no friends in the throng. He found no pleasure in it. But when he grew weary at home in his laboratory, or when his doctor advised that confinement and too much poring over chemicals were telling on his health, he packed up and made for Monte Carlo, or some other expensive place popularly supposed to be a “pleasure-resort.” As a matter of fact, he did not understand pleasure, or what it means.
Finding him in this pensive attitude in the moonlit garden by the sea, you might guess that he was sentimentalising over his past. He was doing nothing of the sort. He was watching a small greyish-white object the moon revealed on the roof of the railway station below, just within the parapet. He knew it to be a pigeon that had escaped, wounded, from the sportsmen in the enclosure. Late that afternoon he had seen the poor creature fluttering. He wondered that the officials (at Monte Carlo they clean up everything)