She held out her hands to him with a theatrical gesture.
“Henri,” she cried, “you could not doubt me! It is impossible!”
“You are right,” he answered quickly. “I was too hasty.”
I smiled upon them both.
“Mademoiselle,” I said, “I am sorry that our pleasant little conversation has been interrupted. Believe me, though, to be always your devoted slave.”
I opened the door. Monsieur Bartot turned towards me. I am convinced that he was about to offer me his hand and to call for that bottle of wine. I felt, however, that flight was safest. I went out and closed the door.
“The bill, monsieur?” a waiter called after me as I descended the stairs.
I gave him five francs for a pour boire.
“Monsieur there will pay,” I told him, pointing towards the room.
I arrived at the Ritz to find Louis walking impatiently up and down the stone-flagged pavement outside the entrance. He came up to me eagerly as I approached.
“I have been waiting for you for more than an hour!” he exclaimed.
I looked at him in some surprise. I had not yet grown accustomed to hear him speak in such a tone.
“Did I say that I was coming straight back?” I asked.
“Of course not,” he answered. “After you left, though, I had some trouble with Monsieur Grisson. There is a chance that we may have to move Tapilow to a hospital, and he is just one of those fools who talk. Monsieur Grisson insists upon it that you leave Paris by the four o’clock train this afternoon.”
I shook my head.
“I could not catch it,” I declared. “It is half-past three now.”
“On the other hand, you can and you must,” Louis answered. “I took the liberty of telephoning in your name and ordering the valet to pack your clothes. Your luggage is in the hall there, and that automobile is waiting to take you to the Gare du Nord.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but Louis’ manner underwent a further change.
“Captain Rotherby,” he said, “it is I and my friends who save you, perhaps, from a considerable inconvenience. Forgive me if I remind you of this, but it is not fitting that you should argue with us on this matter.”
Louis was right. For more reasons than he knew of, it was well that I should leave Paris.
“Are you coming with me?” I asked.
“I am crossing by the night boat,” Louis answered. “I have not quite finished the work for which I came over. I have some things to buy.”
“Upon my word,” I said, “I had forgotten your profession.”
I went back into the hotel and paid my bill. Louis drove with me to the station and saw to the registration of my luggage. Afterwards he found my reserved seat, in which I arranged my rug and books. Then I turned and walked down the corridor with him.