Lady Cynthia had decided that it would be bad for him to stop in Chuzenji. Mountain scenery is demoralising for a nature so Byronic. He was forthwith despatched to Tokyo to represent his Embassy at a Requiem Mass to be celebrated for the souls of an Austrian Archduke and his wife, who had recently been assassinated by a Serbian fanatic somewhere in Bosnia. Reggie was furious at having to undertake this mission. For the mountains were soothing to him, and he was not yet ready for encounters. When he arrived in Tokyo, he was in a very bad temper.
* * * * *
Asako had heard from Tanaka that Reggie Forsyth was expected at the Embassy. That useful intelligence-officer had been posted by the Fujinami to keep watch on the Embassy compound, and to report any movements of importance; for the conspirators were not entirely at ease as to the legality of abducting the wife of a British subject, and keeping her against her husband’s demands.
Asako had received that day a pathetic letter from Geoffrey, giving detail for detail his account of his dealings with Yae Smith, begging her to understand and believe him, and to forgive him for the crime which he had never committed.
In spite of her cousin’s incredulity, Asako’s resolution was shaken by this appeal. At last, now that she had lost her husband, she was beginning to realise how very much she loved him. Reggie Forsyth would be a more or less impartial witness.
Late that evening, in a hooded rickshaw she crossed the short distance which led to the Embassy. Mr. Forsyth had just arrived.
Mr. Forsyth was very displeased to hear Mrs. Barrington announced. It was just the kind of meeting which would exasperate and unnerve him.
Her appearance was against her. She wore a Japanese kimono, unpleasantly reminiscent of Yae. Her hair was disordered and frantic-looking. Her eyes were red with weeping.
“Let me say at once,” observed Reggie, as he offered her a chair, “that I am in no way responsible for your husband’s shortcomings. I have too many of my own.”
Asako could never understand Reggie when he talked in that sarcastic tone.
“I want to know exactly what happened,” she begged. “I have no one else who can tell me.”
“Your husband says that nothing actually happened,” replied Reggie brutally.
The girl realised that this statement was far from being the vindication of Geoffrey which she had begun to hope for.
“But what did you actually see?” she asked.
“I saw Miss Smith with your husband. As it was in my house, they might have asked my leave first.”
“But do you think Geoffrey had been—love-making to Miss Smith?”
“I don’t know,” said Reggie wearily. “From what I heard, I think Miss Smith was doing most of the love-making to Geoffrey; but he did not seem to object to the process.”