Horser was purple with rage. He pointed with shaking fist to the still, calm figure.
“Arrest him,” he ordered. “Take him to the cells.”
Mr. Sabin shrugged his shoulders.
“I am ready,” he said, “but it is only fair to give you this warning. I am the Duke of Souspennier, and I am well known in England and France. The paper which you saw me hand to the porter in the hall as we stepped into the elevator was a despatch in cipher to the English Ambassador at Washington, claiming his protection. If you take me to prison to-night you will have him to deal with to-morrow.”
Mr. Horser bore himself in defeat better than at any time during the encounter. He turned to the constables.
“Go down stairs and wait for me in the hall,” he ordered. “You too, Skinner.”
They left the room. Horser turned to Mr. Sabin, and the veins on his forehead stood out like whipcord.
“I know when I’m beaten,” he said. “Keep your report, and be damned to you. But remember that you and I have a score to settle, and you can ask those who know me how often Dick Horser comes out underneath in the long run.”
He followed the others. Mr. Sabin sat down in his easy-chair with a quiet smile upon his lips. Once more he glanced through the brief report. Then his eyes half closed, and he sat quite still—a tired, weary-looking man, almost unnaturally pale.
“They have kept their word,” he said softly to himself, “after many years. After many years!”
* * * * *
Duson came in to undress him shortly afterwards. He saw signs of the struggle, but made no comment. Mr. Sabin, after a moment’s hesitation, took a phial from his pocket and poured a few drops into a wineglassful of water.
“Duson,” he said, “bring me some despatch forms and a pencil.”
Mr. Sabin wrote for several moments. Then he placed the forms in an envelope, sealed it, and handed it to Duson.
“Duson,” he said, “that fellow Horser is annoyed with me. If I should be arrested on any charge, or should fail to return to the hotel within reasonable time, break that seal and send off the telegrams.”
Mr. Sabin yawned.
“I need sleep,” he said. “Do not call me to-morrow morning until I ring. And, Duson!”
“The Campania will sail from New York somewhere about the tenth of October. I wish to secure the whole of stateroom number twenty-eight. Go round to the office as soon as they open, secure that room if possible, and pay a deposit. No other will do. Also one for yourself.”
“Very good, sir.”
“Here’s a lady inquiring for you, sir—just gone up to your room in the elevator,” the hotel clerk remarked to Mr. Sabin as he paused on his way to the door to hand in his key. “Shall I send a boy up?”