“Now I must go and get rid of that poor fool outside,” she said. “What a bungler!”
Brott was beside himself with impatience.
“Lucille is here,” she announced, stepping in beside him. “She has a shocking headache and has gone to bed. As a matter of fact, I believe that she was expecting to hear from you.”
“Impossible!” he answered shortly. He was beginning to distrust this woman.
“Never mind. You can make it up with her to-morrow. I was foolish to be anxious about her at all. Are you coming in again?”
They were at Carmarthen House. He handed her out.
“No, thanks! If you will allow me I will wish you good-night.”
She made her way into the ball-room, and found the Prince of Saxe Leinitzer, who was just leaving.
“Do you know where Lucille is?” she asked.
He looked up at her sharply. “Where?”
“At the Carlton Hotel—with him.”
He rose to his feet with slow but evil promptitude. His face just then was very unlike the face of an angel. Lady Carey laughed aloud.
“Poor man,” she said mockingly. “It is always the same when you and Souspennier meet.”
He set his teeth.
“This time,” he muttered, “I hold the trumps.”
She pointed at the clock. It was nearly four. “She was there at eleven,” she remarked drily.
“His Highness, the Prince of Saxe Leinitzer!”
Duson stood away from the door with a low bow. The Prince—in the buttonhole of whose frock-coat was a large bunch of Russian violets, passed across the threshold. Mr. Sabin rose slowly from his chair.
“I fear,” the Prince said suavely, “that I am an early visitor. I can only throw myself upon your indulgence and plead the urgency of my mission.”
His arrival appeared to have interrupted a late breakfast of the Continental order. The small table at which Lucille and Mr. Sabin were seated was covered with roses and several dishes of wonderful fruit. A coffee equipage was before Lucille. Mr. Sabin, dressed with his usual peculiar care and looking ten years younger, had just lit a cigarette.
“We have been anticipating your visit, Prince,” Mr. Sabin remarked, with grim courtesy. “Can we offer you coffee or a liqueur?”
“I thank you, no,” the Prince answered. “I seldom take anything before lunch. Let me beg that you do not disturb yourselves. With your permission I will take this easy-chair. So! That is excellent. We can now talk undisturbed.”
Mr. Sabin bowed.
“You will find me,” he said, “an excellent listener.”
The Prince smiled in an amiable manner. His eyes were fixed upon Lucille, who had drawn her chair a little away from the table. What other woman in the world who had passed her first youth could sit thus in the slanting sunlight and remain beautiful?