“We’ve got to keep him till after the Campania sails, anyhow,” Horser said doggedly.
“We’re not going to keep him ten minutes,” Mace replied. “I’m going to sign the order for his release.”
Horser’s speech was thick with drunken fury. “By —– I’ll see that you don’t!” he exclaimed.
Mace turned upon him angrily.
“You selfish fool!” he muttered. “You’re not in the thing, anyhow. If you think I’m going to risk my position for the sake of one little job you’re wrong. I shall go down myself and release him, with an apology.”
“He’ll have his revenge all the same,” Horser answered. “It’s too late now to funk the thing. They can’t budge you. We’ll see to that. We hold New York in our hands. Be a man, Mace, and run a little risk. It’s fifty thousand.”
Mace looked up at him curiously.
“What do you get out of it, Horser?”
Horser’s face hardened.
“Not one cent!” he declared fiercely. “Only if I fail it might be unpleasant for me next time I crossed.”
“I don’t know!” Mace declared weakly. “I don’t know what to do. It’s twelve hours, Horser, and the charge is ridiculous.”
“You have me behind you.”
“I can’t tell them that at Washington,” Mace said.
“It’s a fact, all the same. Don’t be so damned nervous.”
Mace dismissed his clerk, and found his other guests, too, on the point of departure. But the last had scarcely left before a servant entered with another despatch.
Mace handed it to his companion.
“This settles it,” he declared. “I shall go round and try and make my peace with the fellow.”
Horser stood in the way, burly, half-drunk and vicious. He struck his host in the face with clenched fist. Mace went down with scarcely a groan. A servant, hearing the fall, came hurrying back.
“Your master is drunk and he has fallen down,” Horser said. “Put him to bed—give him a sleeping draught if you’ve got one.”
The servant bent over the unconscious man.
“Hadn’t I better fetch a doctor, sir?” he asked. “I’m afraid he’s hurt.”
“Not he!” Horser answered contemptuously. “He’s cut his cheek a little, that’s all. Put him to bed. Say I shall be round again by nine o’clock.”
Horser put on his coat and left the house. The morning sunlight was flooding the streets. Away down town Mr. Sabin was dozing in his high-backed chair.
Felix, after an uneventful voyage, landed duly at Liverpool. To his amazement the first person he saw upon the quay was Mr. Sabin, leaning upon his stick and smoking a cigarette.
“Come, come, Felix!” he exclaimed. “Don’t look at me as though I were a ghost. You have very little confidence in me, after all, I see.”