“I suppose I could get a divorce?” Jack asked, savagely.
“No doubt of it, but—”
“But you wouldn’t advise me to do it. No, you’re right. I couldn’t stand the publicity and disgrace.”
“I would like to choke her,” muttered Jimmie.
“I had a talk with her on the way to town,” said Nevill. “She has been in London for a month, and knew your address all the time, but did not wish to see you. Now she is hard up, and that is why she made herself known to you to-night.”
“What became of the scoundrel she ran away with? Did he desert her?”
“Yes,” Nevill answered, after a brief hesitation.
“Do you know who he was?”
“She intimated that he was a French Count. I believe she has had several others since, and the last one left her stranded.”
“She wants money, then?”
“Rather. That’s her game. She knows she has no legal claim on you, and for a fixed sum I think she will agree to return to Paris and not molest you in future.”
“I don’t care what becomes of her,” Jack replied, bitterly, “but I am determined not to see her again. Let her understand that, and tell her that I will give her three hundred pounds on condition that she goes abroad and never shows her face in England again. And another thing, there must be no further appeals to me.”
“Bind her tight, in writing,” suggested Jimmie.
“It’s asking a lot of you, Nevill,” said Jack, “but if you don’t mind—”
“My dear fellow, it is a mere trifle. I will gladly help you in the matter to my utmost power, and I only wish I could do more.”
“That’s the way to talk,” put in Jimmie. “Can I be of any assistance, Nevill? I’ve a persuasive sort of way with women—”
“Thanks, but I can manage much better alone, I think.” Nevill took a memorandum book from his pocket, and turned over the pages. “Trust all to me, Jack,” he added. “I am free to-morrow after four o’clock. I will see Diane—your wife—fix the terms with her, and come down in the evening to report to you.”
“That is uncertain. But you will be here?”
“Yes; I shall expect you,” said Jack. “I can’t thank you enough. It’s a blessing for a chap to have a couple of friends like you and Jimmie.”
“You would do as much for me,” replied Nevill. “I’m going to see you through your trouble.”
Jack walked abruptly to the open window, and looked out into the starry night.
“What does it matter,” he thought, “whether I am rid of Diane or not? I have lost my darling. Madge is dead to me. I can’t grasp it yet. How can I tell her?—how can I live without her?”
“Are you going up to town, Jimmie?” Nevill asked. “My cab is waiting, and you can share it.”
“No; I shall stop with poor old Jack,” Jimmie replied. “I don’t like to leave him alone.”
“That’s good of you. It’s a terrible blow, isn’t it?”