“I presume that Miss Abbeway has already done her best?”
“She has worn herself out with persuasions.”
“Has he himself been told the truth?”
Fenn shook his head.
“From your own knowledge of the young man, do you think that it would be of any use? Even Miss Abbeway is forced to admit that any one less likely to sympathise with our aims it would be impossible to find. At the same time, if we do arrange an interview for you, use any arguments you can think of. To tell you the truth, our whole calculations have been upset by not discovering the packet upon his person. He was on his way to Downing Street when our agents intervened, and we never doubted that he would have it with him. When will it be convenient for you to pay your visit?”
“At any time you send for me,” the Bishop replied. “Meanwhile, Mr. Fenn, before I leave I want to remind you once more of the original purpose of my call upon you.”
Fenn frowned a little peevishly as he rose to usher his visitor out.
“Miss Abbeway has already extorted a foolish promise from us,” he said. “The young man’s safety for the present is not in question.”
The Bishop, more from custom than from any appetite, walked across the Park to the Athenaeum. Mr. Hannaway Wells accosted him in the hall.
“This is a world of rumours,” he remarked with a smile. “I have just heard that Julian Orden, of all men in the world, has been shot as a German spy.”
The Bishop smiled with dignity.
“You may take it from me,” he said gravely, “that the rumour is untrue.”
Nicholas Fenn, although civilisation had laid a heavy hand upon him during the last few years, was certainly not a man whose outward appearance denoted any advance in either culture or taste. His morning clothes, although he had recently abandoned the habit of dealing at a ready-made emporium, were neither well chosen nor well worn. His evening attire was, if possible, worse. He met Catherine that evening in the lobby of what he believed to be a fashionable grillroom, in a swallow-tailed coat, a badly fitting shirt with a single stud-hole, a black tie, a collar which encircled his neck like a clerical band, and ordinary walking boots. She repressed a little shiver as she shook hands and tried to remember that this was not only the man whom several millions of toilers had chosen to be their representative, but also the duly appointed secretary of the most momentous assemblage of human beings in the world’s history.
“I hope I am not late,” she said. “I really do not care much about dining out, these days, but your message was so insistent.”
“One must have relaxation,” he declared. “The weight of affairs all day long is a terrible strain. Shall we go in?”
They entered the room and stood looking aimlessly about them, Fenn having, naturally enough, failed to realise the necessity of securing a table. A maitre d’hotel, however, recognised Catherine and hastened to their rescue. She conversed with the man for a few minutes in French, while her companion listened admiringly, and finally, at his solicitation, herself ordered the dinner.