“If he will let me,” she promised.
“I think he will let you, right enough,” Hamel observed. “Between you and me, I rather think he hates having me down at the Tower at all. He will encourage anything that takes me away, even as far as the Golf Club.”
They were approaching the Hall now. She was looking once more as she had looked last night. She had lost her colour, her walk was no longer buoyant. She had the air of a prisoner who, after a brief spell of liberty, enters once more the place of his confinement. Gerald came out to meet them as they climbed the stone steps which led on to the terrace. He glanced behind as he greeted them, and then almost stealthily took a telegram from his pocket.
“This came for you,” he remarked, handing it to Hamel. “I met the boy bringing it out of the office.”
Hamel tore it open, with a word of thanks. Gerald stood in front of him as he read.
“If you wouldn’t mind putting it away at once,” he asked, a little uncomfortably. “You see, the telegraph office is in the place, and my uncle has a queer rule that every telegram is brought to him before it is delivered.”
Hamel did not speak for a moment. He was looking at the few words scrawled across the pink sheet with a heavy black pencil:
“Make every enquiry in your neighbourhood for an American, John P. Dunster, entrusted with message of great importance, addressed to Von Dusenberg, The Hague. Is believed to have been in railway accident near Wymondham and to have been taken from inn by young man in motor-car. Suggest that he is being improperly detained.”
Hamel crumpled up the telegram and thrust it into his pocket.
“By-the-by,” he asked, as they ascended the steps, “what did you say the name of this poor fellow was who is lying ill up-stairs?”
Gerald hesitated for a moment. Then he answered as though a species of recklessness had seized him.
“He called himself Mr. John P. Dunster.”
Mr. Fentolin, having succeeded in getting rid of his niece and his somewhat embarrassing guest for at least two hours, was seated in his study, planning out a somewhat strenuous morning, when his privacy was invaded by Doctor Sarson.
“Our guest,” the latter announced, in his usual cold and measured tones, “has sent me to request that you will favour him with an interview.”
Mr. Fentolin laid his pen deliberately down.
“So soon,” he murmured. “Very
well, Sarson, I am at his service.
Say that I will come at once.”
Mr. Fentolin lost no time in paying this suggested visit. Mr. John P. Dunster, shaved and clothed, was seated in an easy-chair drawn up to the window of his room, smoking what he was forced to confess was a very excellent cigar. He turned his head as the door opened, and Mr. Fentolin waved his hand pleasantly.