Amory obeyed. His chief’s hand was steady, but the two glasses jingled together until, with a smile, Amory dropped his arm.
“I am about all in, I fancy,” he admitted apologetically.
“A week’s rest on the water,” said Chillingworth, “would set you on your feet for the convention. All right, St. George,” he nodded.
St. George leaped to his feet.
“Hooray!” he shouted like a boy. “Jove, won’t it be good to get back?”
He smiled as he set down his glass, remembering the day at his desk when he had seen the white-and-brass craft slip to the river’s mouth.
Rollo, discreet and without wonder, footed softly about the table, keeping the glasses filled and betraying no other sign of life. For more than four hours he was in attendance, until, last of the guests, Little Cawthorne and Bennietod departed together, trying to remember the dates of the English kings. Finally Chillingworth and Amory, having turned outdoors the dramatic critic who had arrived at midnight and was disposed to stay, stood for a moment by the fire and talked it over.
“Remember, St. George,” Chillingworth said, “I’ll have no monkey-work. You’ll report to me at the old hour, you won’t be late; and you’ll take orders—”
“As usual, sir,” St. George rejoined quietly.
“I beg your pardon,” Chillingworth said quickly, “but you see this is such a deuced unnatural arrangement.”
“I understand,” St. George assented, “and I’ll do my best not to get thrown down. Amory has told me all he knows about it—by the way, where is the mulatto woman now?”
“Why,” said Chillingworth, “some physician got interested in the case, and he’s managed to hurry her up to the Bitley Reformatory in Westchester for the present. She’s there; and that means, we need not disguise, that nobody can see her. Those Bitley people are like a rabble of wild eagles.”
“Right,” said St. George. “I’ll report at eight o’clock. Amory can board The Aloha when he gets ready and take down whom he likes.”
“On my life, old chap, it’s a private view of Kedar’s tents to me,” said Amory, his eyes shining behind his pince-nez. “I’ll probably win wide disrespect by my inability to tell a mainsail from a cockpit, but I’m a grateful dog, in spite of that.”
When they were gone St. George sat by the fire. He read Amory’s story of the Boris affair in the paper, which somewhere in the apartment Rollo had unearthed, and the man took off his master’s shoes and brought his slippers and made ready his bath. St. George glanced over his shoulder at the attractively-dismantled table, with its dying candles and slanted shades.
“Gad!” he said in sheer enjoyment as he clipped the story and saw Rollo pass with the towels.
It was so absurdly like a city room’s dream of Arcady.