Mr. Sabin hesitated.
“A lady?” he remarked tentatively.
The hotel clerk nodded.
“Yes. I didn’t notice the name, but she was an Englishwoman. I’ll send up.”
“Thank you, I will return,” Mr. Sabin said. “If I should miss her on the way perhaps you will kindly redirect her to my rooms.”
He rang for the elevator, and was swiftly transported to his own floor. The door of his sitting-room was open. Duson was talking to a tall fair woman, who turned swiftly round at the sound of his approach.
“Ah, they found you, then!” she exclaimed, coming towards him with outstretched hands. “Isn’t this a strange place and a strange country for us to meet once more in?”
He greeted her gallantly, but with a certain reserve, of which she was at once aware.
“Are there any countries in the world left which are strange to so great a traveler as Lady Muriel Carey?” he said. “The papers here have been full of your wonderful adventures in South Africa.”
“Everything shockingly exaggerated, of course,” she declared. “I have really been plagued to death since I got here with interviewers, and that sort of person. I wonder if you know how glad I am to see you again?”
“You are very kind, indeed,” he said. “Certainly there was no one whom I expected less to see over here. You have come for the yacht races, I suppose?”
She looked at him with a faint smile and raised eyebrows.
“Come,” she said, “shall we lie to one another? Is it worth while? Candour is so much more original.”
“Candour by all means then, I beg,” he answered.
“I have come over with the Dalkeiths, ostensibly to see the yacht races. Really I have come to see you.”
Mr. Sabin bowed.
“I am delightfully flattered,” he murmured.
“I don’t exactly mean for the pleasure of gazing into your face once more,” she continued. “I have a mission!”
Mr. Sabin looked up quickly.
“Great heavens! You, too!” he exclaimed.
“Why not?” she asked coolly. “I have been in it for years, you know, and when I got back from South Africa everything seemed so terribly slow that I begged for some work to do.”
“And they sent you here—to me?”
“Yes,” she answered, “and I was here also a few weeks ago, but you must not ask me anything about that.”
Mr. Sabin’s eyebrows contracted, his face darkened. She shrank a little away from him.
“So it is you who have robbed me of her, then,” he said slowly. “Yes, the description fits you well enough. I ask you, Lady Carey, to remember the last time when chance brought you and me together. Have I deserved this from you?”
She made a little gesture of impotence.
“Do be reasonable!” she begged. “What choice had I?”