The ladies being momentarily out of ear-shot, M. Gaston glancing rapidly about him, said: “May I beg a favor, Dr. Cumberly?”
“Certainly, M. Gaston,” replied the physician—he was officiating at the syphon. “Say when.”
“When!” said Max. “I should like to see you in Harley Street to-morrow morning.”
Cumberly glanced up oddly. “Nothing wrong, I hope?”
“Oh, not professionally,” smiled Max; “or perhaps I should say only semi-professionally. Can you spare me ten minutes?”
“My book is rather full in the morning, I believe,” said Cumberly, frowning thoughtfully, “and without consulting it—which, since it is in Harley Street, is impossible—I scarcely know when I shall be at liberty. Could we not lunch together?”
Max blew a ring of smoke from his lips and watched it slowly dispersing.
“For certain reasons,” he replied, and his odd American accent became momentarily more perceptible, “I should prefer that my visit had the appearance of being a professional one.”
Cumberly was unable to conceal his surprise, but assuming that his visitor had good reason for the request, he replied after a moment’s reflection:
“I should propose, then, that you come to Harley Street at, shall we say, 9.30? My earliest professional appointment is at 10. Will that inconvenience you?”
“Not at all,” Max assured him; “it will suit me admirably.”
With that the matter dropped for the time, since Helen and her new friend now reentered; and although Helen’s manner was markedly depressed, Miss Ryland energetically turned the conversation upon the subject of the play which they had witnessed that evening.
M. Max, when he took his departure, found that the rain had ceased, and accordingly he walked up Whitehall, interesting himself in those details of midnight London life so absorbing to the visitor, though usually overlooked by the resident.
Punctually at half-past nine, a claret-colored figure appeared in sedate Harley Street. M. Gaston Max pressed the bell above which appeared:
DR. BRUCE CUMBERLY.
He was admitted by Garnham, who attended there daily during the hours when Dr. Cumberly was visible to patients, and presently found himself in the consulting room of the physician.
“Good morning, M. Gaston!” said Cumberly, rising and shaking his visitor by the hand. “Pray sit down, and let us get to business. I can give you a clear half-hour.”
Max, by way of reply, selected a card from one of the several divisions of his card-case, and placed it on the table. Cumberly glanced at it and started slightly, turning and surveying his visitor with a new interest.
“You are M. Gaston Max!” he said, fixing his gray eyes upon the face of the man before him. “I understood my daughter to say"...
Max waved his hands, deprecatingly.