The Prince left his companion loitering along Pall Mall, still a little puzzled. He called a taxi and drove to Devenham House. The great drawing rooms were almost empty. Lady Grace was just saying goodbye to some parting guests. She welcomed the Prince with a little flush of pleasure.
“I find you alone?” he remarked.
“My mother is opening a bazaar somewhere,” Lady Grace said. “She will be home very soon. Do let me give you some tea.”
“It is my excuse for coming,” the Prince admitted.
She called back the footman who had shown him in.
“China tea, very weak, in a china teapot with lemon and no sugar. Isn’t that it?” she asked, smiling.
“Lady Grace,” he declared, “you spoil me. Perhaps it is because I am going away. Every one is kind to the people who go away.”
She looked at him anxiously.
“Going away!” she exclaimed. “When? Do you mean back to Japan?”
“Back to my own country,” he answered. “Perhaps in two weeks, perhaps three—who can tell?”
“But you are coming to Devenham first?” she asked eagerly.
“I am coming to Devenham first,” he assented. “I called this afternoon to let your father know the date on which I could come. I promised that he should hear from me today. He was good enough to say either Thursday or Friday. Thursday, I find, will suit me admirably.”
She drew a little sigh.
“So you are going back,” she said softly. “I wonder why so many people seem to have taken it for granted that you would settle down here. Even I had begun to hope so.”
“Lady Grace,” he said, “I am not what you call a cosmopolitan. To live over here in any of these Western countries would seem to denote that one may change one’s dwelling place as easily as one changes one’s clothes. The further east you go, the more reluctant one is, I think, to leave the shadow of one’s own trees. The man who leaves my country leaves it to go into exile. The man who returns, returns home.”
She was a little perplexed.
“I should have imagined,” she said, “that the people who leave your country as emigrants to settle in American or even over here might have felt like that. But you of the educated classes I should have thought would have found more over here to attract you, more to induce you to choose a new home.”
He shook his head.
“Lady Grace,” he said, “believe me that is not so. The traditions of our race—the call of the blood, as you put it over here—is as powerful a thing with our aristocratics as with our peasants. We find much here to wonder at and admire, much that, however unwillingly, we are forced to take back and adopt in our own country, but it is a strange atmosphere for us, this. For my country-people there is but one real home, but one motherland.”
“Yet you have seemed so contented over here,” she remarked. “You have entered so easily into all our ways.”