In a moment Byng returned and came down the stage. “She is not seriously hurt,” he said simply to the audience. “We were just in time.”
Presently, as he entered the Grenfel box again, deafening applause broke forth.
“We were just in time,” said Ian Stafford, with an admiring, teasing laugh, as he gripped Byng’s arm.
“’We’—well, it was a royal business,” said Jasmine, standing close to him and looking up into his eyes with that ingratiating softness which had deluded many another man; “but do you realize that it was my cloak you took?” she added, whimsically.
“Well, I’m glad it was,” Byng answered, boyishly. “You’ll have to wear my overcoat home.”
“I certainly will,” she answered. “Come—the giant’s robe.”
People were crowding upon their box.
“Let’s get out of this,” Byng said, as he took his coat from the hook on the wall.
As they left the box the girl’s white-haired, prematurely aged father whispered in the pretty stepmother’s ear: “Jasmine’ll marry that nabob—you’ll see.”
The stepmother shrugged a shoulder. “Jasmine is in love with Ian Stafford,” she said, decisively.
“But she’ll marry Rudyard Byng,” was the stubborn reply.
THE UNDERGROUND WORLD
“What’s that you say—Jameson—what?”
Rudyard Byng paused with the lighted match at the end of his cigar, and stared at a man who was reading from a tape-machine, which gave the club the world’s news from minute to minute.
“Dr. Jameson’s riding on Johannesburg with eight hundred men. He started from Pitsani two days ago. And Cronje with his burghers are out after him.”
The flaming match burned Byng’s fingers. He threw it into the fireplace, and stood transfixed for a moment, his face hot with feeling, then he burst out:
“But—God! they’re not ready at Johannesburg. The burghers’ll catch him at Doornkop or somewhere, and—” He paused, overcome. His eyes suffused. His hands went out in a gesture of despair.
“Jameson’s jumped too soon,” he muttered. “He’s lost the game for them.”
The other eyed him quizzically. “Perhaps he’ll get in yet. He surely planned the thing with due regard for every chance. Johannesburg—”
“Johannesburg isn’t ready, Stafford. I know. That Jameson and the Rand should coincide was the only chance. And they’ll not coincide now. It might have been—it was to have been—a revolution at Johannesburg, with Dr. Jim to step in at the right minute. It’s only a filibustering business now, and Oom Paul will catch the filibuster, as sure as guns. ’Gad, it makes me sick!”
“Europe will like it—much,” remarked Ian Stafford, cynically, offering Byng a lighted match.