“I will make her understand then,” said Geoffrey.
“Don’t talk like a brute. You will have to be very patient and considerate for her. Go slow!”
“Can I stop here to-night, then?” asked Barrington, plaintively.
“No,” said Reggie with firmness; “that is really more than I could stick. I told you—truth or untruth, the mind keeps on seeing pictures. Pack up your things. Call a coolie. The evening walk down to Nikko will do you more good than my jawing. Good-bye.”
An unreal handshake—and he was gone.
Then, of a sudden, Geoffrey realized that, how very unwittingly, he had deeply wronged this man who was his best friend and upon whom he was leaning in his hour of trial. Like Job, his adversities were coming upon him from this side and from that, until he must curse God and die. Now his friend had given him his dismissal. He would probably never see Reggie Forsyth again.
As he was starting on his long walk downhill a motor car passed him. Only one motor car that season had climbed the precipitous road from the plains. It must be Yae Smith’s. Just as it was passing the girl leaned out of the carriage and blew a kiss to Geoffrey.
She was not alone. There was a small fat man in the car beside her, a Japanese with a round impertinent face. With a throb of bitter heart-sickness Geoffrey recognized his own servant, Tanaka.
* * * * *
Next morning Reggie Forsyth crossed the lake as usual to his work at the Embassy. He met the Ambassadress on the terrace of her villa.
“Good morning, Lady Cynthia,” he said, “I congratulate you on your masterly diplomacy.”
“What do you mean?”
Her manner nowadays was very chilly towards her former favourite.
“In accordance with your admirable arrangements,” he said, “my marriage is off.”
“Oh, Reggie,” her coolness changed at once, “I’m so glad—”
He held up a warning hand.
“But—you have broken a better man than I.”
“Why, what do you mean?”
“Geoffrey Barrington. He has learned who the Fujinami are, and where his money comes from.”
“You told him?”
“I’m not such a skunk as all that, Lady Cynthia.”
Her Excellency was pondering what had better be done for Geoffrey.
“Where is he?” she asked.
“He stopped the night at Nikko. He is probably in the train for Tokyo by now.”
If she were a hero, a real theatre hero, as Geoffrey had been apparently, she would go straight off to Tokyo also; and perhaps she would be able to prevent a catastrophe. Or perhaps she would not. Perhaps she would only make things worse. On the whole, she had better stop in Chuzenji and look after her own husband.
“Reggie,” she said, “you’ve had a lucky escape. How did you know that I had any hand in this? You’re more of a girl than a man. A rotten marriage would have broken you. Geoffrey Barrington is made of stronger stuff. He is in for a bad time. But he will learn a lot which you know already; and he will survive.”