“We have none,” she replied. “I learnt my tennis at Cannes, where, curiously enough, I saw you play three years ago.”
“You were there then?” he asked with interest.
“For a few days only. We were motoring from Spain to Monte Carlo. Cannes was very crowded, but you see I remembered.”
Her voice seemed to have some lingering charm in it, some curiously potent suggestion of personal interest which stirred his pulses. He looked up and met her eyes. For a moment the world of tennis fields, of pleasant chatter and of holiday-makings, passed away. He rose abruptly to his feet. This time he avoided looking at her.
“You must come over and speak to Maggie,” he begged. “Perhaps Mr. Immelan will spare you for a few moments.”
Immelan bowed, sphinxlike but coldly furious. The two strolled away together.
When the next set was over, Naida, who had rejoined her companion, had disappeared. On one of their vacated chairs was seated the quiet-looking stranger in grey. Chalmers passed his arm through Nigel’s and led him in that direction.
“I want you two to know each other,” he said. “Jesson, this is Lord Dorminster—Mr. Gilbert Jesson—Lord Dorminster.”
The two men shook hands, Nigel a little vaguely. He was at first unable to place this newcomer.
“Mr. Jesson,” Chalmers explained, dropping his voice a little, “was a highly privileged and very much valued member of our Intelligence Department, until he resigned a few months ago. I think that if you could spare an hour or two any time this evening, Dorminster, it would interest you very much to know exactly the reason for Mr. Jesson’s resignation.”
“I should be very pleased indeed,” Nigel replied. “Won’t you both come and dine in Belgrave Square to-night? I was going to ask you, anyhow, Chalmers. Naida Karetsky has promised to come, and my cousin will be hostess.”
“It will give me very great pleasure,” Jesson acquiesced. “You will understand,” he added, “that the information which Mr. Chalmers has just given you concerning myself is entirely confidential.”
“We three will have a little talk to ourselves afterwards,” he suggested. “At eight o’clock—Number 17, Belgrave Square.”
Jesson strolled away after a little desultory conversation. Chalmers looked after him thoughtfully.
“Harmless-looking chap, isn’t he?” he observed. “Yet I’ll let you in on this, Dorminster: there isn’t another living person who knows so much of what is going on behind the scenes in Europe as that man.”
“Why has he chucked his job, then?” Nigel enquired.
“He will tell you that to-night,” was Chalmers’ quiet reply.
“I don’t think I shall marry you, after all,” Maggie announced that evening, as she stood looking at herself in one of the gilded mirrors with which the drawing-room at Belgrave Square was adorned.