The man moved towards the door. His master looked up.
“The Duc de Souspennier remains here—or at the bottom of the lake—what matters! It is Mr. Sabin who travels to New York, and for whom you engage rooms at the Holland House. Mr. Sabin is a cosmopolitan of English proclivities.”
“Very good, sir!”
“Lock this door. Bring my coat and hat five minutes before the carriage starts. Let the servants be well paid. Let none of them attempt to see me.”
The man bowed and disappeared. Left to himself, Mr. Sabin rose from his chair, and pushing open the windows, stood upon the verandah. He leaned heavily upon his stick with both hands, holding it before him. Slowly his eyes traveled over the landscape.
It was a very beautiful home which he was leaving. Before him stretched the gardens—Italian in design, brilliant with flowers, with here and there a dark cedar-tree drooping low upon the lawn. A yew hedge bordered the rose-garden, a fountain was playing in the middle of a lake. A wooden fence encircled the grounds, and beyond was a smooth rolling park, with little belts of pine plantations and a few larger trees here and there. In the far distance the red flag was waving on one of the putting greens. Archie Green was strolling up the hillside,—his pipe in his mouth, and his driver under his arm. Mr. Sabin watched, and the lines in his face grew deeper and deeper.
“I am an old man,” he said softly, “but I will live to see them suffer who have done this evil thing.”
He turned slowly back into the room, and limping rather more than was usual with him, he pushed aside a portiere and passed into a charmingly furnished country drawing-room. Only the flowers hung dead in their vases; everything else was fresh and sweet and dainty. Slowly he threaded his way amongst the elegant Louis Quinze furniture, examining as though for the first time the beautiful old tapestry, the Sevres china, the Chippendale table, which was priceless, the exquisite portraits painted by Greuze, and the mysterious green twilights and grey dawns of Corot. Everywhere treasures of art, yet everywhere the restraining hand of the artist. The faint smell of dead rose leaves hung about the room. Already one seemed conscious of a certain emptiness as though the genius of the place had gone. Mr. Sabin leaned heavily upon his stick, and his head drooped lower and lower. A soft, respectful voice came to him from the other room.
“In five minutes, sir, the carriage will be at the door. I have your coat and hat here.”
Mr. Sabin looked up.
“I am quite ready, Duson!” he said.
* * * * *
The servants in the hall stood respectfully aside to let him pass. On the way to the depot he saw nothing of those who saluted him. In the car he sat with folded arms in the most retired seat, looking steadfastly out of the window at the dying day. There were mountains away westwards, touched with golden light; sometimes for long minutes together the train was rushing through forests whose darkness was like that of a tunnel. Mr. Sabin seemed indifferent to these changes. The coming of night did not disturb him. His brain was at work, and the things which he saw were hidden from other men.