“It is true,” Mr. Fentolin admitted, “that I have compensations which no one can guess at, compensations which appeal to me more as time steals on. And yet—”
He stopped short.
“And yet?” Lady Saxthorpe repeated interrogatively.
Mr. Fentolin was watching Gerald drive golf balls from the lawn beneath. He pointed downwards.
“I was like that when I was his age,” he said quietly.
Mr. Fentolin remained upon the terrace long after the departure of his guests. He had found a sunny corner out of the wind, and he sat there with a telescope by his side and a budget of newspapers upon his knee. On some pretext or another he had detained all the others of the household so that they formed a little court around him. Even Hamel, who had said something about a walk, had been induced to stop by an appealing glance from Esther. Mr. Fentolin was in one of his most loquacious moods. For some reason or other, the visit of the Saxthorpes seemed to have excited him. He talked continually, with the briefest pauses. Every now and then he gazed steadily across the marshes through his telescope.
“Lord Saxthorpe,” he remarked, “has, I must confess, greatly excited my curiosity as to the identity of our visitor. Such a harmless-looking person, he seems, to be causing such a commotion. Gerald, don’t you feel your responsibility in the matter?”
“Yes, sir, I do!” Gerald replied, with unexpected grimness. “I feel my responsibility deeply.”
Mr. Fentolin, who was holding the telescope to his eye, touched Hamel on the shoulder.
“My young friend,” he said, “your eyes are better than mine. You see the road there? Look along it, between the white posts, as far as you can. What do you make of that black speck?”
Hamel held the telescope to his eye and steadied it upon the little tripod stand.
“It looks like a horse and trap,” he announced. “Good!” Mr. Fentolin declared. “It seemed so to me, but I was not sure. My eyes are weak this afternoon. How many people are in the trap?”
“Two,” Hamel answered. “I can see them distinctly now. One man is driving, another is sitting by his side. They are coming this way.”
Mr. Fentolin blew his whistle. Meekins appeared almost directly. His master whispered a word in his ear. The man at once departed.
“Let me make use of your eyes once more,” Mr. Fentolin begged. “About these two men in the trap, Mr. Hamel. Is one of them, by any chance, wearing a uniform?”
“They both are,” Hamel replied. “The man who is driving is wearing a peaked hat. He looks like a police inspector. The man by his side is an ordinary policeman.”
Mr. Fentolin sighed gently.
“It is very interesting,” he said. “Let us hope that we shall not see an arrest under my roof. I should feel it a reflection upon my hospitality. I trust, I sincerely trust, that this visit does not bode any harm to Mr. John P. Dunster.”