Mr. Fentolin sighed, as though a weight had been removed from his heart.
“I will now,” he decided, reaching forward for the handle of his carriage, “go down to the Tower. It is just possible that a few days’ seclusion might be good for our guest.”
The doctor turned silently away. There was no one there to see his expression as he walked towards the door.
The two men who were supping together in the grillroom at the Cafe Milan were talking with a seriousness which seemed a little out of keeping with the rose-shaded lamps and the swaying music of the band from the distant restaurant. Their conversation had started some hours before in the club smoking-room and had continued intermittently throughout the evening. It had received a further stimulus when Richard Hamel, who had bought an Evening Standard on their way from the theatre a few minutes ago, came across a certain paragraph in it which he read aloud.
“Hanged if I understand things over here, nowadays, Reggie!” he declared, laying the paper down. “Here’s another Englishman imprisoned in Germany—this time at a place no one ever heard of before. I won’t try to pronounce it. What does it all mean? It’s all very well to shrug your shoulders, but when there are eighteen arrests within one week on a charge of espionage, there must be something up.”
For the first time Reginald Kinsley seemed inclined to discuss the subject seriously. He drew the paper towards him and read the little paragraph, word by word. Then he gave some further order to an attentive maitre d’hotel and glanced around to be sure that they were not overheard.
“Look here, Dick, old chap,” he said, “you are just back from abroad and you are not quite in the hang of things yet. Let me ask you a plain question. What do you think of us all?”
“Think of you?” Hamel repeated, a little doubtfully. “Do you mean personally?”
“Take it any way you like,” Kinsley replied. “Look at me. Nine years ago we played cricket in the same eleven. I don’t look much like cricket now, do I?”
Hamel looked at his companion thoughtfully. For a man who was doubtless still young, Kinsley had certainly an aged appearance. The hair about his temples was grey; there were lines about his mouth and forehead. He had the air of one who lived in an atmosphere of anxiety.
“To me,” Hamel declared frankly, “you look worried. If I hadn’t heard so much of the success of your political career and all the rest of it, I should have thought that things were going badly with you.”
“They’ve gone well enough with me personally,” Kinsley admitted, “but I’m only one of many. Politics isn’t the game it was. The Foreign Office especially is ageing its men fast these few years. We’ve been going through hell, Hamel, and we are up against it now, hard up against it.”