“He is unchanged,” she murmured, “yet I fear that there must be trouble.”
“Why? He seemed cheerful enough,” her husband remarked.
She dropped her voice a little.
“Lucille is in London. She is staying at Dorset House.”
Mr. Sabin was deep in thought. He sat in an easy-chair with his back to the window, his hands crossed upon his stick, his eyes fixed upon the fire. Duson was moving noiselessly about the room, cutting the morning’s supply of newspapers and setting them out upon the table. His master was in a mood which he had been taught to respect. It was Mr. Sabin who broke the silence.
“I have always, as you know, ignored your somewhat anomalous position as the servant of one man and the slave of a society. The questions which I am about to ask you you can answer or not, according to your own apprehensions of what is due to each.”
“I thank your Grace!”
“My departure from America seemed to incite the most violent opposition on the part of your friends. As you know, it was with a certain amount of difficulty that I reached this country. Now, however, I am left altogether alone. I have not received a single warning letter. My comings and goings, although purposely devoid of the slightest secrecy, are absolutely undisturbed. Yet I have some reason to believe that your mistress is in London.”
“Your Grace will pardon me,” Duson said, “but there is outside a gentleman waiting to see you to whom you might address the same questions with better results, for compared with him I know nothing. It is Monsieur Felix.”
“Why have you kept him waiting?” Mr. Sabin asked.
“Your Grace was much absorbed,” Duson answered.
Felix was smoking a cigarette, and Mr. Sabin greeted him with a certain grim cordiality.
“Is this permitted—this visit?” he asked, himself selecting a cigarette and motioning his guest to a chair.
“It is even encouraged,” Felix answered.
“You have perhaps some message?”
“I am glad to see you,” Mr. Sabin said. “Just now I am a little puzzled. I will put the matter to you. You shall answer or not, at your own discretion.”
“I am ready,” Felix declared.
“You know the difficulty with which I escaped from America,” Mr. Sabin continued. “Every means which ingenuity could suggest seemed brought to bear against me. And every movement was directed, if not from here, from some place in Europe. Well, I arrived here four days ago. I live quite openly, I have even abjured to some extent my incognito. Yet I have not received even a warning letter. I am left absolutely undisturbed.”
Felix looked at him thoughtfully.
“And what do you deduce from this?” he asked.