A frock-coated and altogether immaculate young man approached their table and accosted Mr. Sabin.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” he said, “but the manager would be much obliged if you would spare him a moment or two in his private room as soon as possible.”
Mr. Sabin nodded.
“In a few minutes,” he answered.
The little party broke up almost immediately. Coffee was ordered in the palm court, where the band was playing. Mr. Sabin and the Prince fell a little behind the others on the way out of the room.
“You heard my summons?” Mr. Sabin asked.
“I am going to be cross-examined as regards Duson. I am no longer a member of the Order. What is to prevent my setting them upon the right track?”
“The fact,” the Prince said coolly, “that you are hoping one day to recover Lucille.”
“I doubt,” Mr. Sabin said, “whether you are strong enough to keep her from me.”
The Prince smiled. All his white teeth were showing.
“Come,” he said, “you know better than—much better than that. Lucille must wait her release. You know that.”
“I will buy it,” Mr. Sabin said, “with a lie to the manager here, or I will tell the truth and still take her from you.”
The Prince stood upon the topmost step of the balcony. Below was the palm court, with many little groups of people dotted about.
“My dear friend,” he said, “Duson died absolutely of his own free will. You know that quite well. We should have preferred that the matter had been otherwise arranged. But as it is we are safe, absolutely safe.”
“Duson’s letter!” Mr. Sabin remarked.
“You will not show it,” the Prince answered. “You cannot. You have kept it too long. And, after all, you cannot escape from the main fact. Duson committed suicide.”
“He was incited to murder. His letter proves it.”
The Prince shrugged his shoulders.
“By whom? Ah, how your story would excite ridicule. I seem to hear the laughter now. No, my dear Souspennier, you would bargain for me with Lucille. Look below. Are we likely to part with her just yet?”
In a corner, behind a gigantic palm, Lucille and Brott were talking together. Lady Carey had drawn Opperman a little distance away. Brott was talking eagerly, his cheeks flushed, his manner earnest. Mr. Sabin turned upon his heel and walked away.
Mr. Sabin, although he had registered at the hotel under his accustomed pseudonym, had taken no pains to conceal his identity, and was well known to the people in authority about the place. He was received with all the respect due to his rank.
“Your Grace will, I trust, accept my most sincere apologies for disturbing you,” Mr. Hertz, the manager, said, rising and bowing at his entrance. “We have here, however, an emissary connected with the police come to inquire into the sad incident of this afternoon. He expressed a wish to ask your Grace a question or two with a view to rendering your Grace’s attendance at the inquest unnecessary.”