“When is the best time to catch him?” Douglas asked.
“Now, as easily as any,” Rice answered. “Come along with me, and I will show you the way and arrange that he sees you.”
Douglas stood up and ground his heel into the floor. Perish those hateful fears—that fainting sense of terror! Douglas Guest was dead. For Douglas Jesson there was a future never more bright than now.
“Come,” he said. “You must drink with me once. Waiter, two more liqueurs.”
“Success,” Rice cried, lifting his glass, “to your interview with Drexley! He’s not a bad chap, although he has his humours.”
Douglas drained his glass to the dregs—but he drank to a different toast. The two men left the place together.
THE EDITOR OF THE IBEX RECEIVES A STRANGE LETTER
The editor of the Ibex sat at a long table in his sanctum paying some perfunctory attentions to a huge pile of letters which had come in by the afternoon mail. Most of them he threw on one side for his “sub,” a few he opened himself and tossed into a basket for further attention later on. It was a task which he never entered upon with much enthusiasm, for he was a man who hated detail. His room itself disclosed the man. It was a triumph of disorder. Books and magazines were scattered all over the floor. The proof sketch of a wonderful poster took up one side of the wall, leaning against the others were sketches, pictures, golf clubs, and huge piles of books of reference. His table was a bewilderment, his mantelpiece a nightmare. Only before him, in a handsome frame of dark wood, was the photograph of a woman round which a little space had been cleared. There was never so much chaos but that the picture was turned where the light fell best upon it; the dirt might lie thick upon every inch in the room, but every morning a silk handkerchief carefully removed from the glass-mounting every disfiguring speck. Yet the man himself seemed to have little enough sentiment about him. His shoulders were broad and his head massive. A short-cut beard concealed his chin, but his mouth was of iron and his eyes were hard and keen. He was of no more than the average stature by reason of his breadth and girth; he seemed even to fall short of it, which was not however the case. A man not easily led or controlled, a man of passions and prejudices, emphatically not a man to be trifled with or ignored.
In the midst of the pile of letters he came upon one at the sight of which his indifference vanished as though by magic. It was a heavy, square envelope, a coronet upon the flap, addressed to David Drexley, Esq., in a handwriting distinctly feminine. He singled it out from the rest, held it for a moment between his thumb and broad forefinger, and then turned his chair round, abandoning the rest of his correspondence as a matter of infinitesimal consequence. A letter