Julian glanced at the hand which Fenn had half extended but made no movement to take it. He leaned a little upon the Bishop’s arm.
“Help me out of this place, sir, will you?” he begged. “As for Fenn and that other brute, what I have to say about them will keep.”
It was a little more than half an hour later when Julian ascended the steps of his club in Pall Mall and asked the hall porter for letters. Except that he was a little paler than usual and was leaning more heavily upon his stick, there was nothing about his appearance to denote several days of intense strain. There was a shade of curiosity, mingled with surprise, in the commissionaire’s respectful greeting.
“There have been a good many enquiries for you the last few days, sir,” he observed.
“I dare say,” Julian replied. “I was obliged to go out of town unexpectedly.”
He ran through the little pile of letters and selected a bulky envelope addressed to himself in his own handwriting. With this he returned to the taxicab in which the Bishop and Catherine were seated. They gazed with fascinated eyes at the packet which he was carrying and which he at once displayed.
“You see,” he remarked, as he leaned back, “there is nothing so impenetrable in the world as a club of good standing. It beats combination safes hollow. It would have taken all Scotland Yard to have dragged this letter from the rack.”
“That is really—it?” Catherine demanded breathlessly.
“It is the packet,” he assured her, “which you handed to me for safe keeping at Maltenby.”
They drove almost in silence to the Bishop’s house, where it had been arranged that Julian should spend the night. The Bishop left the two together before the fire in his library, while he personally superintended the arrangement of a guest room. Catherine came over and knelt by the side of Julian’s chair.
“Shall I beg forgiveness for the past,” she whispered, “or may I not talk of the future, the glorious future?”
“Is it to be glorious?” he asked a little doubtfully.
“It can be made so,” she answered with fervour, “by you more than by anybody else living. I defy you—you, Paul Fiske—to impugn our scheme, our aims, the goal towards which we strive. All that we needed was a leader who could lift us up above the localness, the narrow visions of these men. They are in deadly earnest, but they can’t see far enough, and each sees along his own groove. It is true that at the end the same sun shines, but no assembly of people can move together along a dozen different ways and keep the same goal in view.”
He touched the packet.
“We do not yet know the written word here,” he reminded her.
“I do,” she insisted. “My heart tells me. Besides, I have had many hints. There are people in London whose position forces them to remain silent, who understand and know.”