“I don’t wonder you’re surprised,” Fenn observed. “Fourteen guineas for a dress suit, and he thinks he understands the working man!”
She turned her head slowly and looked at him. There was a strange, repressed fire in her eyes. “You are a very foolish person,” she said. “Your parents, I suppose, were small shopkeepers, or something of the sort, and you were brought up at a board-school and Julian Orden at Eton and Oxford, and yet he understands, and you do not. You see, heart counts, and sympathy, and the flair for understanding. I doubt whether these things are really found where you come from.”
He caught up his hat. His face was very white. His tone shook with anger.
“This is our own fault,” he exclaimed angrily, “for having ever permitted an aristocrat to hold any place in our counsels! Before we move a step further, we’ll purge them of such helpers as you and such false friends as Julian Orden.”
“You very foolish person,” she repeated. “Stop, though. Why all this mystery? Why did you try to keep that letter from me?”
“I conceived it to be for the benefit of our cause,” he said didactically, “that the anonymity—of `Paul Fiske’ should be preserved.”
“Rubbish!” she scoffed. “You were afraid of him. Why, what fools we are! We will tell him the whole truth. We will tell him of our great scheme. We will tell him what we have been working for, these many months. The Bishop shall tell him, and you and I, and Miles Furley, and Cross. He shall hear all about it. He is with us! He must be with us! You shall put him on the Council. Why, there is your great difficulty solved,” she went on, in growing excitement. “There is not a working man in the country who would not rally under `Paul Fiske’s’ banner. There you have your leader. It is he who shall deliver your ultimatum.”
“I’m damned if it is!” Fenn declared, suddenly throwing his hat down and coming towards her furiously. “I’m—”
The door opened. Robert stood there.
“The message, madam,” he began—and then stopped short. She crossed the room towards him.
“Robert,” she said, “I think I have found the way to bring your master back to you. Will you take me downstairs, please, and fetch me a taxi?”
She looked back from the threshold.
“I shall telephone to Westminster in a few minutes, Mr. Fenn,” she said. “I hope I shall be in time to stop the others from coming. Perhaps you had better wait here, in case they have already started.”
He made no reply. To Catherine the world had become so wonderful that his existence scarcely counted.
Catherine, notwithstanding her own excitement, found genuine pleasure in the bewildered enthusiasm with which the Bishop received her astounding news. She found him alone in the great, gloomy house which he usually inhabited when in London, at work in a dreary library to which she was admitted after a few minutes’ delay. Naturally, he received her tidings at first almost with incredulity. A heartfelt joy, however, followed upon conviction.