“Lord Uredale!” said a voice on the stairs.
The young doctor descended rapidly to meet them.
“His lordship is asking for some one,” he said. “He seems excited. But I cannot catch the name.”
Lord Uredale ran up-stairs.
* * * * *
Later in the day a man emerged from Lackington House and walked rapidly towards the Mall. It was Jacob Delafield.
He passed across the Mall and into St. James’s Park. There he threw himself on the first seat he saw, in an absorption so deep that it excited the wondering notice of more than one passer-by.
After about half an hour he roused himself, and walked, still in the same brown study, to his lodgings in Jermyn Street. There he found a letter which he eagerly opened.
* * * * *
“DEAR JACOB,—Julie came back this morning about one o’clock. I waited for her—and at first she seemed quite calm and composed. But suddenly, as I was sitting beside her, talking, she fainted away in her chair, and I was terribly alarmed. We sent for a doctor at once. He shakes his head over her, and says there are all the signs of a severe strain of body and mind. No wonder, indeed—our poor Julie! Oh, how I loathe some people! Well, there she is in bed, Madame Bornier away, and everybody. I simply can’t go to Scotland. But Freddie is just mad. Do, Jacob, there’s a dear, go and dine with him to-night and cheer him up. He vows he won’t go north without me. Perhaps I’ll come to-morrow. I could no more leave Julie to-night than fly.
“She’ll be ill for weeks. What I ought to do is to take her abroad. She’s very dear and good; but, oh, Jacob, as she lies there I feel her heart’s broken. And it’s not Lord Lackington. Oh no! though I’m sure she loved him. Do go to Freddie, there’s a dear.”
* * * * *
“No, that I won’t!” said Delafield, with a laugh that choked him, as he threw the letter down.
He tried to write an answer, but could not achieve even the simplest note. Then he began a pacing of his room, which lasted till he dropped into his chair, worn out with the sheer physical exhaustion of the night and day. When his servant came in he found his master in a heavy sleep. And, at Crowborough House, the Duke dined and fumed alone.
“Why does any one stay in England who can make the trip to Paradise?” said the Duchess, as she leaned lazily back in the corner of the boat and trailed her fingers in the waters of Como.