“I am so sorry to have kept you all this time!” she exclaimed. “Lady Anne has just told me the time and I am horrified. I meant to walk here for an hour and we have been here for two. Stop that taxi for me, please. I cannot spare the time even to walk home.”
He handed her into the cab and whistled for the dogs, who all scrambled in after her.
“Thanks to much for looking after a helpless cripple,” he said pleasantly, as they shook hands. “You mustn’t grudge the time. Doing your duty to the country, you know.”
He tactfully avoided any mention of a future meeting and was rewarded with a little wave of her hand from the window of the cab. He himself left the Park at the same time, strolled along Piccadilly as far as Sackville Street and let himself into his rooms. His servant came forward to meet him from the inner room, and took his cap and stick.
“Any telephone messages, Jarvis?”
Granet moved towards the easy-chair. On the way he stopped. The door of one of the cupboards in the sideboard was half open. He frowned.
“Haven’t I told you, Jarvis, that I wish those cupboards kept locked?” he asked a little curtly.
The man was staring towards the sideboard in some surprise.
“I am very sorry, sir,” he said. “I certainly believed that I locked it last night.”
Granet opened it wide and looked inside. His first glance was careless enough, then his expression changed. He stared incredulously at the small array of bottles and turned swiftly around.
“Have you moved anything from here?”
“Certainly not, sir,” was the prompt reply.
Granet closed the cupboard slowly. Then he walked to the window for a moment, his hands behind his back.
“Any one been here this morning at all, Jarvis?” he inquired.
“A man for the laundry, sir, and a person to test the electric light.”
“Left alone in the room at all?”
“The electric light man was here for a few minutes, sir.”
The master and servant exchanged quick glances. The latter was looking pale and nervous.
“Is anything missing, sir?” he asked.
“Yes!” Granet replied. “Did you notice the gentleman who called last evening—Surgeon-Major Thomson?”
“You haven’t seen him since? He hasn’t been here?”
Granet stood, for a moment, thinking. The servant remained motionless. The silence in the room was ominous; so, also, was the strange look of disquietude in the two men’s faces.
“Jarvis,” his master said at last, “remember this. I am not finding fault. I know you are always careful. But from tonight be more vigilant than ever. There is a new hand in the game. He may not suspect us yet but he will. You understand, Jarvis?”
The man withdrew noiselessly. Once more Granet walked to the window. He looked down for a few minutes at the passers-by but he saw nothing. Grave thoughts were gathering together in his mind. He was travelling along the road of horrors and at the further end of it a man stood waiting. He saw himself draw nearer and nearer to the meeting his name almost frame itself upon his lips, the name of the man whom he had grown to hate.