She looked at him curiously.
“You are very thorough, aren’t you?” she remarked.
“The people of the country whom it is my destiny to serve all are,” he replied. “One weak link, you know, may sometimes spoil the mightiest chain.”
She closed the door and took up the telephone.
“Number three, please,” she began. “Are you the hotel? The manager? Good! I am speaking for Lady Cranston. She wishes a sitting-room, bedroom and bath-room reserved for a friend of ours who is arriving to-day—a Mr. Hamar Lessingham. You have his luggage already, I believe. Please do the best you can for him.—Certainly.—Thank you very much.”
She set down the receiver. The door was quickly opened and shut. Philippa reappeared, carrying an armful of clothes.
“Why, you’ve brought his grey suit,” Helen cried in dismay, “the one he looks so well in!”
“Don’t be an idiot,” Philippa scoffed. “I had to bring the first I could find. Take them in to Mr. Lessingham, and for heaven’s sake see that he hurries! Henry’s train is due, and he may be here at any moment.”
“I’ll tell him,” Helen promised. “I’ll smuggle him out of the back way, if you like.”
Philippa laughed a little drearily.
“A nice start that would be, if any one ever traced his arrival!” she observed. “No, we must try and get him away before Henry comes, but, if the worst comes to the worst, we’ll have him in and introduce him. Henry isn’t likely to notice anything,” she added, a little bitterly.
Helen disappeared with the clothes and returned almost immediately, Philippa was sitting in her old position by the fire.
“You’re not worrying about this, dear, are you?” the former asked anxiously.
“I don’t know,” Philippa replied, without turning her head. “I don’t know what may come of it, Helen. I have a queer sort of feeling about that man.”
Helen sighed. “I suppose,” she confessed, “I am the narrowest person on earth. I can think of one thing, and one thing only. If Mr. Lessingham keeps his word, Dick will be here perhaps in a month, perhaps six weeks—certainly soon!”
“He will keep his word,” Philippa said quietly. “He is that sort of man.”
The door on the other side of the room was softly opened. Lessingham’s head appeared.
“Could I have a necktie?” he asked diffidently. Philippa stretched out her hand and took one from the basket by her side.
“Better give him this,” she said, handing it over to Helen. “It is one of Henry’s which I was mending.—Stop!”
She put up her finger. They all listened.
“The car!” Philippa exclaimed, rising hastily to her feet. “That is Henry! Go out with Mr. Lessingham, Helen,” she continued, “and wait until he is ready. Don’t forget that he is an ordinary caller, and bring him in presently.”
Helen nodded understandingly and hurried out.