“That way,” cried St. George, with no time to waste on the miracle of Jarvo’s appearance, “that way—there. Where you see the white.”
At a touch the motor plunged away into the fragrant darkness. Amory looked back. Figures crowded the windows of the palace, and streamed from the banquet hall into the courtyard. Men hurried through the hall, and there was clamour of voices, and in the honey-coloured air the great bulk of the palace towered like a faithless sentinel, the alien banners in nameless colours sending streamers into the moon-lit upper spaces.
On before, down nebulous ways, went the whiteness of the floating veil.
Down nebulous ways they went, the thin darkness flowing past them. The sloping avenue ran all the width of the palace grounds, and here among slim-trunked trees faint fringes of the light touched away the dimness in the open spaces and expressed the borders of the dusk. Always the way led down, dipping deeper in the conjecture of shadow, and always before them glimmered the mist of Olivia’s veil, an eidolon of love, of love’s eternal Vanishing Goal.
And St. George was in pursuit. So were Amory and Jarvo, and Rollo of the oil-skins, but these mattered very little, for it was St. George whose eyes burned in his pale face and were striving to catch the faintest motion in that fleeing car ahead.
“Faster, Jarvo,” he said, “we’re not gaining on them. I think they’re gaining on us. Put ahead, can’t you?”
Amory vexed the air with frantic questionings. “How did it happen?” he said. “Who did it? Was it the guard? What did they do it for?”
“It looks to me,” said St. George only, peering distractedly into the gloom, “as if all those fellows had on uniforms. Can you see?”
Jarvo spoke softly.
“It is true, adon,” he said, “they are of the guard. This is what they had planned,” he added to Amory. “I feared the harm would be to you. It is the same. Your turn would be the next.”
“What do you mean?” St. George demanded.
Amory, with some incoherence, told him what Jarvo had come to them to propose, and heightened his own excitement by plunging into the business of that night and the next, as he had had it from the little brown man’s lips.
“Up the mountain to-morrow night,” he concluded fervently, “what do you think of that? Do you see us?”
“Maniac, no,” said St. George shortly, “what do we want to go up the mountain for if Miss Holland is somewhere else? Faster, Jarvo, can’t you?” he urged. “Why, this thing is built to go sixty miles an hour. We’re creeping.”
“Perhaps it’s better to start in gentle and work up a pace, sir,” observed Rollo inspirationally, “like a man’s legs, sir, beggin’ your pardon.”
St. George looked at him as if he had first seen him, so that Amory once more explained his presence and pointed to the oil-skins. And St. George said only: