The Prince smiled at her through the gloom—a white, set smile.
“It is no foolish fancy, Lucille. You will find that out before long. You have been cold to me all your life. Yet you would find me a better friend than enemy.”
“If I am to choose,” she said steadily, “I shall choose the latter.”
“As you will,” he answered. “In time you will change your mind.”
The carriage had stopped. The Prince alighted and held out his hand. Lucille half rose, and then with her foot upon the step she paused and looked around.
“Where are we?” she exclaimed. “This is not Dorset House.”
“No, we are in Grosvenor Square,” the Prince answered. “I forgot to tell you that we have a meeting arranged for here this evening. Permit me.” But Lucille resumed her seat in the carriage.
“It is your house, is it not?” she asked.
“Yes. My house assuredly.”
“Very well,” Lucille said. “I will come in when the Duchess of Dorset shows herself at the window or the front door—or Felix, or even De Brouillae.”
The Prince still held open the carriage door.
“They will all be here,” he assured her. “We are a few minutes early.”
“Then I will drive round to Dorset House and fetch the Duchess. It is only a few yards.”
The Prince hesitated. His cheeks were very white, and something like a scowl was blackening his heavy, insipid face.
“Lucille,” he said, “you are very foolish. It is not much I ask of you, but that little I will have or I pledge my word to it that things shall go ill with you and your husband. There is plain speech for you. Do not be absurd. Come within, and let us talk. What do you fear? The house is full of servants, and the carriage can wait for you here.”
Lucille smiled at him—a maddening smile.
“I am not a child,” she said, “and such conversations as I am forced to hold with you will not be under your own roof. Be so good as to tell the coachman to drive to Dorset House.”
The Prince turned on his heel with a furious oath.
“He can drive you to Hell,” he answered thickly.
Lucille found the Duchess and Lady Carey together at Dorset House. She looked from one to the other.
“I thought that there was a meeting to-night,” she remarked.
The Duchess shook her head.
“Not to-night,” she answered. “It
would not be possible. General
Dolinski is dining at Marlborough House, and De Broullae is in
Paris. Now tell us all about Mr. Brott.”
“He has gone to Scotland,” Lucille answered. “I have failed.”
Lady Carey looked up from the depths of the chair in which she was lounging.
“And the prince?” she asked. “He went to meet you!”
“He also failed,” Lucille answered.