“All right,” said the young man, after what seemed to Sir Wilfrid a moment of hesitation.
“Are you often up in town this way?” asked Bury, as they walked on. “Land agency seems to be a profession with mitigations.”
“There is some London business thrown in. We have some large milk depots in town that I look after.”
There was just a trace of hurry in the young man’s voice, and Bury surveyed him with a smile.
“No other attractions, eh?”
“Not that I know of. By-the-way, Sir Wilfrid, I never asked you how Dick Mason was getting on?”
“Dick Mason? Is he a friend of yours?”
“Well, we were at Eton and Oxford together.”
“Were you? I never heard him mention your name.”
The young man laughed.
“I don’t mean to suggest he couldn’t live without me. You’ve left him in charge, haven’t you, at Teheran?”
“Yes, I have—worse luck. So you’re deeply interested in Dick Mason?”
“Oh, come—I liked him pretty well.”
“Hm—I don’t much care about him. And I don’t somehow believe you do.”
And Bury, with a smile, slipped a friendly hand within the arm of his companion.
“It’s decent, I suppose, to inquire after an old school-fellow?”
“Exemplary. But—there are things more amusing to talk about.”
Delafield was silent. Sir Wilfrid’s fair mustaches approached his ear.
“I had my interview with Mademoiselle Julie.”
“So I suppose. I hope you did some good.”
“I doubt it. Jacob, between ourselves, the little Duchess hasn’t been a miracle of wisdom.”
“No—perhaps not,” said the other, unwillingly.
“She realizes, I suppose, that they are connected?”
“Of course. It isn’t very close. Lady Rose’s brother married Evelyn’s aunt, her mother’s sister.”
“Yes, that’s it. She and Mademoiselle Julie ought to have called the same person uncle; but, for lack of certain ceremonies, they don’t. By-the-way, what became of Lady Rose’s younger sister?”
“Lady Blanche? Oh, she married Sir John Moffatt, and has been a widow for years. He left her a place in Westmoreland, and she lives there generally with her girl.”
“Has Mademoiselle Julie ever come across them?”
“She speaks of them?”
“Yes. We can’t tell her much about them, except that the girl was presented last year, and went to a few balls in town. But neither she nor her mother cares for London.”
“Lady Blanche Moffatt—Lady Blanche Moffatt?” said Sir Wilfrid, pausing. “Wasn’t she in India this winter?”
“Yes. I believe they went out in November and are to be home by April.”
“Somebody told me they had met her and the girl at Peshawar and then at Simla,” said Sir Wilfrid, ruminating. “Now I remember! She’s a great heiress, isn’t she, and pretty to boot? I know! Somebody told me that fellow Warkworth had been making up to her.”