“Well,” said Acton, “we’ve got about twenty minutes before there’s any particular need to begin our watch for Raffles, but some of the members are hanging round now. The early birds get the best perch for the show. On the whole, perhaps you’d better prowl about this door now, whilst I go round the corner and see if I can run our fox to his earth.”
“All serene,” said Jack. “I’ll mark time out here till I see you.”
Acton walked round the corner, and Jack perambulated about, peering into the faces of the idlers to see if he could spot the well-known and much-detested face of Raffles. He had (of course) no luck.
Five minutes afterwards Acton came back smiling. “Almost first fellow I ran against was Raffles, and I’ve given him his instructions. He’ll hedge for me with the bookie within five minutes.”
“So you’re quite safe now, Acton?” said Jack, beaming.
“Oh, quite,” said Acton, laughing. “Now, Jack, you’ve been no end brickish, and I’m going to treat you. Ever seen a ballet?”
“Well, you shall.”
A hansom flitted slowly up to them, and Acton hailed it. “In you get, Jack. Kingdom!” said Acton to the cabby. They glided noiselessly through the lighted streets, and in a minute or so were before the “Kingdom Theatre.” The two hurried up the steps, and Acton asked an attendant if the ballet were rung up yet.
“No, sir. Two stalls, sir? Certainly. Twelve and thirteen are vacant.”
Jack had never seen a ballet before, and when the gorgeous ballet “Katrina” slowly passed before his eyes, and he followed the simple story which was almost interpreted by the lovely music, when every fresh scene seemed lovelier than all the rest, and fairyland was realized before his eyes, his face beamed with pleasure.
“This is ripping, Acton. Isn’t Katrina lovely? Jove! I’d hunt for Raffles every blessed night if there was a ‘Kingdom’ to finish up with!”
His enthusiasm amused Acton.
“It is very pretty, Jack, certainly.”
For nearly an hour did Jack sit entranced, and when the orchestra crashed out the last floods of melody in the finale, and when most of the audience rose to go, he trotted out with Acton in a dream.
“We’ll have a little supper at Frascati’s, young ’un, and then home.”
Frascati’s completed the enchantment of Bourne. The beauty of the supper-room, the glitter of snowy linen, of mirrors, and the inviting crash of knives, and the clink of glasses, the busy orderliness of the waiters, the laughter, chatter of the visitors, the scents, the sights and sounds, fascinated him. Acton ordered a modest little supper, and when Jack had finally pushed away his plate Acton paid the bill, and went out to find the driver. He was there, the horse almost waltzing with impatience to be off. The two swung themselves up, and in another minute they were whirling along back to St. Amory’s.