“Oh, there you are, George. I wondered where you had got to. Say, I made quite a hit with dadda. I’ve given him my address, and he’s promised to send me a whole lot of roses. By the way, shake hands with Mr. Forsyth. This is George Bevan, Freddie, who wrote the music of our show.”
The solemn youth at the wheel extended a hand.
“Topping show. Topping music. Topping all round.”
“Well, good-bye, George. See you soon, I suppose?”
“Oh, yes. Give my love to everybody.”
“All right. Let her rip, Freddie. Good-bye.”
The blue car gathered speed and vanished down the drive. George returned to the man in corduroys, who had bent himself double in pursuit of a slug.
“Just a minute,” said George hurriedly. He pulled out the first of the notes. “Give this to Lady Maud the first chance you get. It’s important. Here’s a sovereign for your trouble.”
He hastened away. He noticed that gratification had turned the other nearly purple in the face, and was anxious to leave him. He was a modest young man, and effusive thanks always embarrassed him.
There now remained the disposal of the duplicate note. It was hardly worth while, perhaps, taking such a precaution, but George knew that victories are won by those who take no chances. He had wandered perhaps a hundred yards from the rose-garden when he encountered a small boy in the many-buttoned uniform of a page. The boy had appeared from behind a big cedar, where, as a matter of fact, he had been smoking a stolen cigarette.
“Do you want to earn half a crown?” asked George.
The market value of messengers had slumped.
The stripling held his hand out.
“Give this note to Lady Maud.”
“See that it reaches her at once.”
George walked off with the consciousness of a good day’s work done. Albert the page, having bitten his half-crown, placed it in his pocket. Then he hurried away, a look of excitement and gratification in his deep blue eyes.
While George and Billie Dore wandered to the rose garden to interview the man in corduroys, Maud had been seated not a hundred yards away—in a very special haunt of her own, a cracked stucco temple set up in the days of the Regency on the shores of a little lily-covered pond. She was reading poetry to Albert the page.
Albert the page was a recent addition to Maud’s inner circle. She had interested herself in him some two months back in much the same spirit as the prisoner in his dungeon cell tames and pets the conventional mouse. To educate Albert, to raise him above his groove in life and develop his soul, appealed to her romantic nature as a worthy task, and as a good way of filling in the time. It is an exceedingly moot point—and one which his associates