“And everywhere the uncle went, the chappie was sure to go!” murmured Reggie. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“I must see him. I haven’t seen him since last summer—nearly a whole year! And he hasn’t written to me, and I haven’t dared to write to him, for fear of the letter going wrong. So, you see, I must go. Today’s my only chance. Aunt Caroline has gone away. Father will be busy in the garden, and won’t notice whether I’m here or not. And, besides, tomorrow it will be too late, because Percy will be here. He was more furious about the thing than anyone.”
“Rather the proud aristocrat, Percy,” agreed Reggie. “I understand absolutely. Tell me just what you want me to do.”
“I want you to pick me up in the car about half a mile down the road. You can drop me somewhere in Piccadilly. That will be near enough to where I want to go. But the most important thing is about Percy. You must persuade him to stay and dine in town and come back here after dinner. Then I shall be able to get back by an afternoon train, and no one will know I’ve been gone.”
“That’s simple enough, what? Consider it done. When do you want to start?”
“I’ll toddle round to the garage and fetch the car.” Reggie chuckled amusedly. “Rum thing! The mater’s just been telling me I ought to take you for a drive.”
“You are a darling, Reggie, really!”
Reggie gave her back another paternal pat.
“I know what it means to be in love, dear old soul. I say, Maud, old thing, do you find love puts you off your stroke? What I mean is, does it make you slice your approach-shots?”
“No. It hasn’t had any effect on my game so far. I went round in eighty-six the other day.”
Reggie sighed enviously.
“Women are wonderful!” he said. “Well, I’ll be legging it and fetching the car. When you’re ready, stroll along down the road and wait for me.”
* * *
When he had gone Maud pulled a small newspaper clipping from her pocket. She had extracted it from yesterday’s copy of the Morning Post’s society column. It contained only a few words:
“Mr. Wilbur Raymond
has returned to his residence at
No. 11a Belgrave Square from a prolonged voyage in his
yacht, the Siren.”
Maud did not know Mr. Wilbur Raymond, and yet that paragraph had sent the blood tingling through every vein in her body. For as she had indicated to Reggie, when the Wilbur Raymonds of this world return to their town residences, they bring with them their nephew and secretary, Geoffrey Raymond. And Geoffrey Raymond was the man Maud had loved ever since the day when she had met him in Wales.