One day on his return home he found a card on his table which surprised him very much. It contained a name but no address, but over the name there was a pencil memorandum, stating that the owner of the card would call again on his return to London after Easter. The name on the card was that of Count Pateroff. He remembered the name well as soon as he saw it, though he had never thought of it since the solitary occasion on which it had been mentioned to him. Count Pateroff was the man who had been Lord Ongar’s friend, and respecting whom Lord Ongar had brought a false charge against his wife. Why should Count Pateroff call on him? Why was he in England? Whence had he learned the address in Bloomsbury Square? To that last question he had no difficulty in finding an answer. Of course he must have heard it from Lady Ongar. Count Pateroff had now left London. Had he gone to Ongar Park? Harry Clavering’s mind was instantly filled with suspicion, and he became jealous in spite of Florence Burton. Could it be that Lady Ongar, not yet four months a widow, was receiving at her house in the country this man with whose name her own had been so fatally joined? If so, what could he think of such behavior? He was very angry. He knew that he was angry, but he did not at all know that he was jealous. Was he not, by her own declaration to him, her only friend; and as such could he entertain such a suspicion without anger? “Her friend!” he said to himself. “Not if she has any dealings whatever with that man after what she has told me of him!” He remembered at last that perhaps the count might not be at Ongar Park; but he must, at any rate, have had some dealing with Lady Ongar, or he would not have known the address in Bloomsbury Square. “Count Pateroff!” he said, repeating the name, “I shouldn’t wonder if I have to quarrel with that man.” During the whole of that night he was thinking of Lady Ongar. As regarded himself, he knew that he had nothing to offer to Lady Ongar but a brotherly friendship; but, nevertheless, it was an injury to him that she should be acquainted intimately with any unmarried man but himself.
On the next day he was to go to Stratton, and in the morning a letter was brought to him by the postman; a letter, or rather a very short note. Guildford was the postmark, and he knew at once that it was from Lady Ongar.
Dear Mr. Clavering (the note said)—
I was so sorry to leave London without seeing you; I shall be back by the end of April, and am keeping on the same rooms. Come to me, if you can, on the evening of the 30th, after dinner. He at last bade Hermy to write and ask me to go to Clavering for the Easter week. Such a note! I’ll show it you when we meet. Of course I declined.
But I write on purpose to tell you that I have begged Count Pateroff to see you. I have not seen him, but I have had to write to him about things that happened in Florence. He