Ten days before the wedding Beatrice wounded his vanity flagrantly. Clarendon was giving an informal tea for her at his rooms. Half an hour before the time set, Beatrice got him on the wire and explained that her car was stalled with engine trouble two miles from Yonkers.
“I’m awf’ly sorry, Clary,” she pleaded. “We ought not to have come so far. Please tell our friends I’ve been delayed, and—I won’t do it again.”
Bromfield hung up the receiver in a cold fury. He restrained himself for the moment, made the necessary explanations, and went through with the tea somehow. But as soon as his guests were gone he gave himself up to his anger. He began planning a revenge on the man who no doubt was laughing in his sleeve at him. He wanted the fellow exposed, discredited, and humiliated.
But how? Walking up and down his room like a caged panther, Bromfield remembered that Lindsay had other enemies in New York, powerful ones who would be eager to cooperate with him in bringing about the man’s downfall. Was it possible for him to work with them under cover? If so, in what way?
Clarendon Bromfield was not a criminal, but a conventional member of society. It was not in his mind or in his character to plot the murder or mayhem of his rival. What he wanted was a public disgrace, one that would blare his name out to the newspapers as a law-breaker. He wanted to sicken Beatrice and her father of their strange infatuation for Lindsay.
A plan began to unfold itself to him. It was one which called for expert assistance. He looked up Jerry Durand, got him on the telephone, and made an appointment to meet him secretly.
The ex-pugilist sat back in the chair, chewing an unlighted black cigar, his fishy eyes fixed on Bromfield. Scars still decorated the colorless face, souvenirs of a battle in which he had been bested by a man he hated. Durand had a capacity for silence. He waited now for this exquisite from the upper world to tell his business.
Clarendon discovered that he had an unexpected repugnance to doing this. A fastidious sense of the obligations of class served him for a soul and the thing he was about to do could not be justified even in his loose code of ethics. He examined the ferule of his Malacca cane nervously.
“I’ve come to you, Mr. Durand, about—about a fellow called Lindsay.”
The bulbous eyes of the other narrowed. He distrusted on principle all kid gloves. Those he had met were mostly ambitious reformers. Furthermore, any stranger who mentioned the name of the Arizonan became instantly an object of suspicion.
“What about him?”
“I understand that you and he are not on friendly terms. I’ve gathered that from what’s been told me. Am I correct?”
Durand thrust out his salient chin. “Say! Who the hell are you? What’s eatin’ you? Whatta you want?”