“Want to go back, sir?” he said.
“Yes,” replied Mr. Lavender, breathless; “London.”
SEES TRUTH FACE TO FACE
“I fear,” thought Mr. Lavender, as they sped towards Town, “that I have inadvertently taken a joy-ride which belonged to that distinguished person with the eyeglass. No matter, my spirit is now bright for the adventure I have in hand. If only I knew where I could find the Unseen Power—but possibly its movements may be recorded in these journals.” And taking from his pocket his morning papers, which he had not yet had time to peruse, he buried himself in their contents. He was still deeply absorbed when the cab stopped and the driver knocked on the window. Mr. Lavender got out, followed by Blink, and was feeling in his pocket for the fare when an exclamation broke from the driver:
“Gorblimy! I’ve brought the wrong baby!”
And before Mr. Lavender had recovered from his surprise, he had whipped the car round and was speeding back towards the flying ground.
“How awkward!” thought Mr. Lavender, who was extremely nice in money matters; “what shall I do now?” And he looked around him. There, as it were by a miracle, was the office of a great journal, whence obviously his distinguished colleague had set forth to the flying grounds, and to which he had been returned in error by the faithful driver.
Perceiving in all this the finger of Providence, Mr. Lavender walked in. Those who have followed his experiences so far will readily understand how no one could look on Mr. Lavender without perceiving him to be a man of extreme mark, and no surprise need be felt when he was informed that the Personage he sought was on the point of visiting Brighton to open a hospital, and might yet be overtaken at Victoria Station.
With a beating heart he took up the trail in another taxi-cab, and, arriving at Victoria, purchased tickets for himself and Blink, and inquired for the Brighton train.
“Hurry up!” replied the official. Mr. Lavender ran, searching the carriage windows for any indication of his objective. The whistle had been blown, and he was in despair, when his eye caught the label “Reserved” on a first-class window, and looking in he saw a single person evidently of the highest consequence smoking a cigar, surrounded by papers. Without a moment’s hesitation he opened the door, and, preceded by Blink, leaped in. “This carriage is reserved, sir,” said the Personage, as the train moved out.
“I know,” said Mr. Lavender, who had fallen on to the edge of the seat opposite; “and only the urgency of my business would have caused me to violate the sanctity of your retreat, for, believe me, I have the instincts if not the habits of a gentleman.”
The Personage, who had made a move of his hand as if to bring the train to a standstill, abandoning his design, replaced his cigar, and contemplated Mr. Lavender from above it.