“I think,” he replied, “that all things are possible to the military genius of Germany. The only question is whether it is worth while. Germans are supposed to be sentimentalists, you know. I rather doubt it. There is nothing would set the joybells of Berlin clanging so much as the news of a German invasion of Great Britain. On the other hand, there is a great party in Germany, and a very far-seeing one, which is continually reminding the Government that, without Great Britain as a market, Germany would never recover from the financial strain of the war.”
“This is all too impersonal,” Philippa objected. “Do you, in your heart, believe that the time might come when in the night we should hear the guns booming in Dreymarsh Bay, and see your grey-clad soldiers forming up on the beach and scaling our cliffs?”
“That will not be yet,” he pronounced. “It has been thought of. Once it was almost attempted. Just at present, no.”
Philippa drew a sigh of relief.
“Then your mission in Dreymarsh has nothing to do with an attempted landing?”
“Nothing,” he assured her. “I can even go a little further. I can tell you that if ever we do try to land, it will be in an unsuspected place, in an unexpected fashion.”
“Well, it’s really very comforting to hear these things at first-hand,” Philippa declared, with some return to her usual manner. “I suppose we are really two disgraceful women, Helen and I—traitors and all the rest of it. Here we sit talking to an enemy as though he were one of our best friends.”
“I refuse to be called an enemy,” Lessingham protested. “There are times when individuality is a far greater thing than nationality. I am just a human being, born into the same world and warmed by the same sun as you. Nothing can alter the fact that we are fellow creatures.”
“Dreymarsh once more,” Philippa announced, looking out of the window. “And you’re a terribly plausible person, Mr. Lessingham. Come round and see us after dinner—if it doesn’t interfere with your work.”
“On the contrary,” he murmured under his breath. “Thank you very much.”
Sir Henry was standing with his hands in his pockets and a very blank expression upon his face, looking out upon the Admiralty Square. He was alone in a large, barely furnished apartment, the walls of which were so hung with charts that it had almost the appearance of a schoolroom prepared for an advanced geography class. The table from which he had risen was covered with an amazing number of scientific appliances, some samples of rock and sand, two microscopes and several telephones.
Sir Henry, having apparently exhausted the possibilities of the outlook, turned somewhat reluctantly away to find himself confronted by an elderly gentleman of cheerful appearance, who at that moment had entered the room. From the fact that he had done so without knocking, it was obvious that he was an intimate.