“Old man, I went along to the Royal with this Lady Tybar. Told her who I was and what I knew. Ordered some tea there (which we didn’t touch) and she began to talk to me. Talk to me ... I tell you what I thought about that woman while she talked. I thought, leaving out limelight beauty, and classic beauty and all the beauty you can see in a frame presented as such; leaving out that, because it wasn’t there, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Yes, and I told my wife so. That shows you! You couldn’t say where it was or how it was. You could only say that beauty abode in her face as the scent in the rose. It’s there and it’s exquisite: that’s all you can say. If she’d been talking to me in the dark I could have felt that she was beautiful.
“What did she tell me? She talked about herself and Sabre. What did she say? No, you’ll have to let that go, old man. It was more what I read into what she said. I’ll keep it—for a bit, anyway.
“There’s else to tell than that. That cabman I’d got hold of sent in awhile after to see me. Said he’d picked up Sabre a mile along and taken him home. Stopped a bit to patch up some harness or something and ’All of a heap’ (as he expressed it) Sabre had come flying out of the house again into the cab and told him to drive like hell and all to the office—to Fortune, East and Sabre’s. Said Sabre behaved all the way like as if he was mad—shouting to him to hurry and carrying on inside the cab so the old man was terrified.
“I said, ‘To the office! What the devil now?’ I ran in to Lady Tybar and we hurried round. We were scared for him, I tell you. And we’d reason to be—when we got there and found him.”
When that cab which Hapgood had despatched after Sabre from the coroner’s court overtook its quest, the driver put himself abreast of the distracted figure furiously hobbling along the road and, his second pound note in view, began, in a fat and comfortable voice, a beguiling monologue of “Keb, sir? Keb? Keb? Keb, sir?”
Sabre at first gave no attention. Farther along he once angrily waved his stick in signal of dismissal. About a mile along his disabled knee, and all his much overwrought body refused longer to be the flogged slave of his tumultuous mind. He stopped in physical exhaustion and rested upon his stick. The cabman also stopped and tuned afresh his enticing and restful rhythm: “Keb, sir? Keb? Keb? Keb, sir?”
He got in.
He did not think to give a direction, but the driver had his directions; nor, when he was set down at his house, to make payment; but payment had been made. The driver assisted him from the cab and into his door—and he needed assistance—and being off his box set himself to the adjustment of a buckle, repair of which he had deferred through the day until (being a man economical of effort) some other circumstance should necessitate his coming to earth.