“Menita,” Delora answered, without hesitation. “Now you mention it, of course I remember him! If he has written you to be civil to us, you can do it best by minding your own business. In a fortnight’s time I shall be free to entertain or to be entertained. At present I am on a secret mission, and I do not wish my work to be interfered with.”
I moved toward the door.
“I have said all that I wish to say,” I remarked. “If I hear nothing from you I shall come back to London in fourteen days.”
“You will find me with my niece,” Delora said, “and we shall be happy to see you.”
I left him there, feeling somehow or other that I had not had the best of our interview. Yet my position from the first was hopeless. There was nothing for me to do but to keep my word to Felicia and let things drift.
I drove to the club on my way to the station, where I had arranged for my baggage to be sent. As I crossed Pall Mall I met Lamartine. He was standing on the pavement, on the point of entering a motor-car on which was piled some luggage.
“So you, too, are leaving London,” I remarked, stopping for a moment.
He looked at me curiously.
“I am going to Paris,” he said.
“A pleasure trip?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“Not entirely,” he said. “Only this morning I made a somewhat surprising discovery.”
“Concerning our friend?” I asked.
“Concerning our friend,” Lamartine echoed.
He seemed dubious, for a moment, whether to take me into his confidence.
“You have not found Delora yet?” I asked.
“Not yet,” he answered. “And you?”
“I have seen him,” I admitted.
“Are you disposed to tell me where?” Lamartine asked softly.
I shook my head.
“I have finished with the affair,” I told him. “I finish as I began,—absolutely bewildered! I know nothing and understand nothing. I am going down into the country to shoot pheasants.”
“I,” he remarked, entering the car, “am going after bigger game!”
TO NEWCASTLE BY ROAD
I found several of my brother’s friends staying at Feltham, who were also well known to me, and my aunt, who was playing hostess, had several women staying with her. We spent the time very much after the fashion of an ordinary house-party during the first week of October. We shot until four o’clock, came home and played bridge until dinner-time, bridge or billiards after dinner, varied by a dance one night and some amateur theatricals. On the fifth day a singular thing happened to me.