The banker smiled.
“Let us be thankful, then,” he said, “that the powers we wield are linked together in the great cause.”
Mr. Gordon Jones hesitated.
“Such things, I know, are little to you, Sir Alfred,” he continued, “but at the same time I want you to believe that his Majesty’s Government will not be unmindful of your help at this juncture. To speak of rewards at such a time is perhaps premature. I know that ordinary honours do not appeal to you, yet it has been suggested to me by a certain person that I should assure you of the country’s gratitude. In plain words, there is nothing you may ask for which it would not be our pleasure and privilege to give you.”
Sir Alfred bowed slightly.
“You are very kind,” he said. “Later on, perhaps, one may reflect. At present there seems to be only one stern duty before us, and for that one needs no reward.”
The two men parted. Sir Alfred rose from the chair in front of his desk and threw himself into the easy-chair which his guest had been occupying. A ray of city sunshine found its way through the tangle of tall buildings on the other side of the street, lay in a zigzag path across his carpet, and touched the firm lines of his thoughtful face. He sat there, slowly tapping the sides of the chair with his pudgy fingers. So a great soldier might have sat, following out the progress of his armies in different countries, listening to the roar of their guns, watching their advance, their faltering, their success and their failures. Sir Alfred’s vision was in a sense more sordid in many ways more complicated, yet it too, had its dramatic side. He looked at the money-markets of the world, he saw exchanges rise and fall. He saw in the dim vista no khaki-clad army with flashing bayonets, but a long, thin line of black-coated men with sallow faces, clutching their money-bags.
There was a knock at the door and his secretary entered.
“Captain Granet has been here for some time, sir,” he announced softly.
The banker came back to the present. He woke up, indeed, with a little start.
“Show my nephew in at once,” he directed. “I shall be engaged with him for at least a quarter of an hour. Kindly go round to the Bank of England and arrange for an interview with Mr. Williams for three o’clock this afternoon.”
The clerk silently withdrew. Granet entered, a few minutes later. The banker greeted him pleasantly.
“Well, Ronnie,” he exclaimed, “I thought that you were going to be down in Norfolk for a week! Come in. Bring your chair up to my side, so. This is one of my deaf mornings.”
Granet silently obeyed. Sir Alfred glanced around the room. There was no possible hiding-place, not the slightest chance of being overheard.
“What about it, Ronnie?”
“We did our share,” Granet answered. “Collins was there at the Dormy House Club. We got the signal and we lit the flare. They came down to within two or three hundred feet, and they must have thrown twenty bombs, at least. They damaged the shed but missed the workshop. The house caught fire, but they managed to put that out.”