“Just off,” said Max.
He came to Sir Kersley, seated at his writing-table, and paused beside him. It was a day in April, showery, shot with fleeting gleams of sunshine that sent long golden shafts across the doctor’s room.
“You will bring the boy here then?” said Sir Kersley.
“Yes, straight here. It’s very good of you, Kersley.” Max’s hand lay for a moment on the great man’s shoulder.
“Nonsense, my dear fellow! I’m as keen as you are.” Sir Kersley leaned back in his chair. “I only hope we may be successful,” he said. “Is he likely to be a good patient?”
“Quite the reverse, I should say.” Max sounded grim. “But I expect I can manage him.”
Sir Kersley smiled again. “Just as you managed me a couple of years ago, eh? Yes, I should say you will be fully competent in that respect. You have a way with you, eh, Max? What was it this Indian doctor said?”
“He believed a cure possible, but only under the most favourable conditions. The boy was in no state then to undergo an operation, and he funked the job.” Max’s tone was contemptuous.
“Ah, well! It’s as well he didn’t attempt it in that case,” said Sir Kersley. “He will stand a better chance with us. And what about Captain Ratcliffe and Olga? Will they go straight home?”
“No,” said, Max. He paused a moment, then said rather shortly, “I had a line from Dr. Jim. He says she won’t leave Noel. He and Mrs. Ratcliffe are coming up to meet them, but he expects to go back alone.”
“Captain and Mrs. Ratcliffe will stay in town with Olga, then?” asked Sir Kersley.
“I believe so.”
Sir Kersley’s grey eyes regarded him thoughtfully. “And she is still in the dark with regard to Miss Campion’s death?” he asked, after a moment.
Max’s eyes came swiftly downwards, meeting his look with something of the effect of a challenge. “Yes, absolutely,” he said.
“It’s an extraordinary case,” observed Sir Kersley.
Max said nothing whatever. He took his pipe from his pocket, and began to fill it with a face of sardonic composure.
“I wonder if she ever asks herself how it came about,” said Sir Kersley.
“Why should she?” said Max gruffly.
“My dear fellow, she must have wondered how it happened—why all details were kept from her—and so on.”
“Why should she?” said Max again aggressively. “The subject is a painful one. She is willing enough to avoid it. Of course,” he paused momentarily, “Noel doesn’t know about that affair either. No one knows besides ourselves, but Dr. Jim and Nick.”
“In my opinion Noel ought to know,” said Sir Kersley, with quiet decision. “It would be a terrible thing for Olga if some day—after they were married—she remembered, and he were in ignorance of it.”