Politeness involved the exchange of a few sentences, although a secret antagonism between the two men had revealed itself from the first day of their meeting in Lady Henry’s drawing-room. Each word of their short conversation rang clearly through Delafield’s memory.
“You are at the ’Rhin’?” said Warkworth.
“Yes, for a couple more days. Shall we meet at the Embassy to-morrow?”
“No. I dined there last night. My business here is done. I start for Rome to-night.”
“Lucky man. They have put on a new fast train, haven’t they?”
“Yes. You leave the Gare de Lyon at 7.15, and you are at Rome the second morning, in good time.”
“Magnificent! Why don’t we all rush south? Well, good-bye again, and good luck.”
They touched hands perfunctorily and parted.
This happened about mid-day. While Delafield and his cousins were lunching, a telegram from the Duchess of Crowborough was handed to Jacob. He had wired to her early in the morning to ask for the address in Paris of an old friend of his, who was also a cousin of hers. The telegram contained:
“Thirty-six Avenue Friedland. Lord Lackington heart-attack this morning. Dying. Has asked urgently for Julie. Blanche Moffatt detained Florence by daughter’s illness. All circumstances most sad. Woman Heribert Street gave me Bruges address. Have wired Julie there.”
The message set vibrating in Delafield’s mind the tender memory which already existed there of his last talk with Julie, of her strange dependence and gentleness, her haunting and pleading personality. He hoped with all his heart she might reach the old man in time, that his two sons, Uredale and William, would treat her kindly, and that it would be found when the end came that he had made due provision for her as his granddaughter.
But he had small leisure to give to thoughts of this kind. The physician’s report in the morning had not been encouraging, and his two travelling companions demanded all the sympathy and support he could give them. He went out with them in the afternoon to the Hotel de la Terrasse at St. Germain. The Duke, a nervous hypochondriac, could not sleep in the noise of Paris, and was accustomed to a certain apartment in this well-known hotel, which was often reserved for him. Jacob left them about six o’clock to return to Paris. He was to meet one of the Embassy attaches—an old Oxford friend—at the Cafe Gaillard for dinner. He dressed at the “Rhin,” put on an overcoat, and set out to walk to the Rue Gaillard about half-past seven. As he approached the “Mirabeau,” he saw a cab with luggage standing at the door. A man came out with the hotel concierge. To his astonishment, Delafield recognized Warkworth.
The young officer seemed in a hurry and out of temper. At any rate, he jumped into the cab without taking any notice of the two sommeliers and the concierge who stood round expectant of francs, and when the concierge in his stiffest manner asked where the man was to drive, Warkworth put his head out of the window and said, hastily, to the cocher: