Colonel Henderson smiled a little more naturally.
“I begin to have hopes,” he acknowledged frankly, “that I have been drawn into another mare’s nest. Nevertheless, I am bound to ask you this question, Miss Abbeway. Did you leave your room at all during last night?”
“Not unless I walked in my sleep,” she answered, “but you had better make enquiries of my aunt, and Parkins, our maid. They sleep one on either side of me.”
“You would not object,” the Colonel continued, more cheerfully still, “if my people thought well to have your things searched?”
“Not in the least,” Catherine replied coolly, “only if you unpack my trunks, I beg that you will allow my maid to fold and unfold my clothes.”
“I do not think,” Colonel Henderson said to Lord Maltenby, “that I have any more questions to ask Miss Abbeway at present.”
“In which case we will return to the drawing-room,” the Earl suggested a little stiffly. “Miss Abbeway, you will, I trust, accept my apologies for our intrusion upon you. I regret that any guest of mine should have been subjected to a suspicion so outrageous.”
Catherine laughed softly.
“Not outrageous really, dear Lord Maltenby,” she said. “I do not quite know of what I have been suspected, but I am sure Colonel Henderson would not have asked me these questions if it had not been his duty.”
“If you had not been a guest in this house, Miss Abbeway,” the Colonel assured her, with some dignity, “I should have had you arrested first and questioned afterwards.”
“You come of a race of men, Colonel Henderson, who win wars,” she declared graciously. “You know your own mind.”
“You will be joining us presently, I hope?” Lord Maltenby enquired from the door.
“In a very few minutes,” she promised.
The door closed behind them. Catherine waited for a moment, then she sank a little hysterically into a chair.
“I cannot avoid a touch of melodrama, you see,” she confessed. “It goes with my character and nationality. But seriously, now that that is over, I do not consider myself in the slightest danger. The poor fellow who was shot this morning belongs to a different order of people. He has been a spy over here since the beginning of the war.”
“And what are you?” he asked bluntly.
She laughed up in his face.
“A quite attractive young woman,” she declared,—“at least I feel sure you will think so when you know me better.”
It was about half-past ten on the following morning when Julian, obeying a stentorian invitation to enter, walked into Miles Furley’s sitting room. Furley was stretched upon the couch, smoking a pipe and reading the paper.
“Good man!” was his hearty greeting. “I hoped you’d look me up this morning.”
Julian dragged up the other dilapidated-looking easy-chair to the log fire and commenced to fill his pipe from the open jar.