Passmore rose to his feet.
“You must remember,” he said, “that supposing any one else stumbles upon the same trail as I have been pursuing, and suspicion is afterwards directed towards madame, your not producing that letter at the inquest will make it useless as evidence in her favour.”
“I have considered all these things,” Mr. Sabin said. “I shall deposit the letter in a safe place. But its use will never be necessary. You are the only man who might have forced me to produce it, and you know the truth.”
Passmore rose reluctantly.
“I want you,” Mr. Sabin said, “to leave me not only your address, but the means of finding you at any moment during the next four-and-twenty hours. I may have some important work for you.”
The man smiled as he tore leaf from his pocketbook and a made a few notes.
“I shall be glad to take any commission from you, sir,” he said. “To tell you the truth, I scarcely thought that you would be content to sit down and wait.”
Mr. Sabin smiled.
“I think,” he said, “that very shortly I can find you plenty to do.”
Mr. Sabin a few minutes afterwards ordered his carriage, and was driven to Dorset House. He asked for Lucille, but was shown at once into the library, where the Duke was awaiting him. Then Mr. Sabin knew that something had happened.
The Duke extended his hand solemnly.
“My dear Souspennier,” he said, “I am glad to see you. I was in fact on the point of despatching a messenger to your hotel.”
“I am glad,” Mr. Sabin remarked, “that my visit is opportune. To tell you the truth, Duke, I am anxious to see my wife.”
The Duke coughed.
“I trust,” he said, “that you will not for a moment consider me guilty of any discourtesy to the Countess, for whom I have a great respect and liking. But it has come to my knowledge that the shelter of my roof and name were being given to proceedings of which I heartily disapproved. I therefore only a few hours ago formally broke off all connection with Saxe Leinitzer and his friends, and to put the matter plainly, I expelled them from the house.”
“I congratulate you heartily, Duke, upon a most sensible proceeding,” Mr. Sabin said. “But in the meantime where is my wife?”
“Your wife was not present at the time,” the Duke answered, “and I had not the slightest intention of including her in the remarks I made. Whether she understood this or not I cannot say, but I have since been given to understand that she left with them.”
“How long ago?” Mr. Sabin asked.
“Several hours, I fear,” the Duke answered. “I should like, Souspennier, to express to you my regrets that I was ever induced to become connected in any way with proceedings which must have caused you a great deal of pain. I beg you to accept my apologies.”