Mr. Seven Sachs politely agreed.
Edward Henry accompanied the trio of worshippers and worshipped to the door of his suite, but no further, because of his dressing-gown. Rose Euclid had assumed a resplendent opera-cloak. They rang imperially for the lift. Lackeys bowed humbly before them. They spoke of taxi-cabs and other luxuries. They were perfectly at home in the grandeur of the hotel. As the illuminated lift carried them down out of sight, their smiling heads disappearing last, they seemed exactly like persons of extreme wealth. And indeed for the moment they were wealthy. They had parted with certain hopes, but they had had a windfall; and two of them were looking forward with absolute assurance to a profitable meal and deal with Sir John Pilgrim on the morrow.
“Funny place, London!” said the provincial to himself as he re-entered his suite to rejoin Mr. Seven Sachs.
“Well, sir,” said Mr. Seven Sachs, “I have to thank you for getting me out of a very unsatisfactory situation.”
“Did you really want to get out of it?” asked Edward Henry.
Mr. Sachs replied simply:
“I did, sir. There were too many partners for my taste.”
They were seated more familiarly now in the drawing-room, being indeed separated only by a small table, upon which were glasses. And whereas on a night in the previous week Edward Henry had been entertained by Mr. Bryany in a private parlour at the Turk’s Head, Hanbridge, on this night he was in a sort repaying the welcome to Mr. Bryany’s master in a private parlour at Wilkins’s, London. The sole difference in favour of Mr. Bryany was that while Mr. Bryany provided cigarettes and whisky, Edward Henry was providing only cigarettes and Vichy water. Mr. Seven Sachs had said that he never took whisky; and though Edward Henry’s passion for Vichy water was not quite ungovernable, he thought well to give rein to it on the present occasion, having read somewhere that Vichy water placated the stomach.
Joseph had been instructed to retire.
“And not only that,” resumed Mr. Seven Sachs, “but you’ve got a very good thing entirely into your own hands! Masterly, sir! Masterly! Why, at the end you positively had the air of doing them a favour! You made them believe you were doing them a favour.”
“And don’t you think I was?”
Mr. Sachs reflected, and then laughed.
“You were,” he said. “That’s the beauty of it. But at the same time you were getting away with the goods!”
It was by sheer instinct, and not by learning, that Edward Henry fully grasped, as he did, the deep significance of the American idiom employed by Mr. Seven Sachs. He too laughed, as Mr. Sachs had laughed. He was immeasurably flattered. He had not been so flattered since the Countess of Chell had permitted him to offer her China tea, meringues, and Berlin pancakes at the Sub Rosa tea-rooms in Hanbridge—and that was a very long time ago.