Barrington frowned and threw his cigarette into the fire with a little jerk.
“Nonsense!” he exclaimed. “The man’s not quite so bad as that. We’ve been useful to him. We’ve done exactly what he asked. The other matter’s dead and buried. We don’t want his money, but it is perfectly easy for him to help us make a little.”
She looked up at him quietly.
“I think, Lumley, that it is dangerous!” she said.
“Then you’re not the clever woman I take you for,” he answered, turning to leave the room. “Just as you please. Only it will be that or the bankruptcy court before long!”
Lady Ruth lay quite still, looking into the fire. When her maid came, she moved on tiptoe for it seemed to her that her mistress slept. But Lady Ruth was wide awake though the thoughts which were flitting through her brain had, perhaps, some kinship to the land of dreams.
“Any place,” the girl exclaimed as she entered, “more unlike a solicitor’s office, I never saw! Flowers outside and flowers on your desk, Mr. Pengarth! Don’t you have to apologize to your clients for your surroundings? There’s absolutely nothing, except the brass plate outside, to show that this isn’t an old-fashioned farmhouse, stuck down in the middle of a village. Fuchsias in the window sill, too!”
He placed a chair for her, and laid down the deed which he had been examining, with a little sigh of relief. It really was very hard work pretending to be busy.
“You see, Miss Juliet,” he explained with twinkling eyes, “my clients are all country folk, and it makes them feel more at home to find a lawyer’s office not very different from their own parlor.”
“What would the great man say?” she inquired, pointing to the rows of black tin boxes which lined the walls.
“Sir Wingrave Seton is never likely to come here again, I am afraid,” he answered. “If he did, I don’t think he’d mind. To tell you the truth, I’m rather proud of my office, young lady!”
She looked around.
“They are nice,” she said decidedly, “but unbusinesslike.”
“You’re going to put up the pony and stay to lunch, of course?” he said. “I’ll ring for the boy.”
She stopped him.
“Please don’t!” she exclaimed. “I have come to see you—on business!”
Mr. Pengarth, after his first gasp of astonishment, was a different man. He fumbled about on the desk, and produced a pair of gold spectacles, which he adjusted with great nicety on the edge of his very short nose.
“On business, my dear!” he repeated. “Well, well! To be sure! Is it Miss Harrison who has sent you?”
Mr. Pengarth’s visitor looked positively annoyed. She leaned across the table towards him so that the roses in her large hat almost brushed his forehead. Her wonderful brown eyes were filled with reproach.