“Miss Morse!” he exclaimed breathlessly.
She held out her hand as though to bid him remain silent. For several seconds she seemed to be listening. Then very softly she closed the door behind her.
“Miss Penelope,” he cried softly, “you must not come in here! Please!”
She ignored his outstretched hand, advancing a little further into the room. There was tragedy in her white face. She seemed to be shaking in every limb, but not with nervousness. Directly he looked into her eyes, he knew very well that the thing was close at hand!
“Listen!” she whispered. “I had to come! You don’t know what is going on! For the last half hour the telephone has been ringing continuously. It is about you! The Home Office has been ringing up to speak to the Prime Minister. The Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard has been to see them. One of their detectives has collected evidence which justifies them in issuing a warrant for your arrest.”
“For my arrest,” the Prince repeated.
“Don’t you understand?” she continued breathlessly. “Don’t you see how horrible it is? They mean to arrest you for the murder of Hamilton Fynes and Dicky Vanderpole!”
“If this must be so,” the Prince answered, “why do they not come? I am here.”
“But you must not stay here!” she exclaimed. “You must escape! It is too terrible to think that you should—oh, I can’t say it!—that you should have to face these charges. If you are guilty, well, Heaven help you!—If you are guilty, I want you to escape all the same!”
He looked at her with the puzzled air of one who tries to reason with a child.
“Dear Miss Penelope,” he said, “this is kind of you, but, after all, remember that I am a man, and I must not run away.”
“But you cannot meet these charges!” she interrupted. “You cannot meet them! You know it! Oh, don’t think I can’t appreciate your point of view! If you killed those men, you killed them to obtain papers which you believed were necessary for the welfare of your country. Oh, it is not I who judge you! You did not do it, I know, for your own gain. You did it because you are, heart and soul, a patriot. But here, alas! they do not understand. Their whole standpoint is different. They will judge you as they would a common criminal. You must fly,—you must, indeed!”
“Dear Miss Penelope,” he said, “I cannot do that! I cannot run away like a thief in the dark. If this thing is to come, it must come.”
“But you don’t understand!” she continued, wringing her hands. “You think because you are a great prince and a prince of a friendly nation that the law will treat you differently. It will not! They have talked of it downstairs. You are not formally attached to any one in this country. You are not even upon the staff of the Embassy. You are here on a private mission as a private person, and there is no way in which the Government can intervene, even if it would. You are subject to its laws and you have broken them. For Heaven’s sake, fly! You have your motor car here. Let your man drive you to Southampton and get on board the Japanese cruiser. You mustn’t wait a single moment. I believe that tomorrow morning will be too late!”