“That’s all very well,” Forrest answered, “but we can’t go on cutting two aces all the time. I ran it pretty fine last night, when for the second time I gave you a three or a four, and drew a two myself. But he seems to have the devil’s own luck. They cut under us, as you know.”
The Princess looked up toward the house. She had seen Jeanne and Cecil appear.
“Those people are back from their underground pilgrimage,” she remarked. “Have you anything definite to suggest? If not, we had better go in.”
“There is only one way, Ena,” Forrest said, “in which we could improve matters.”
“And what is that?” she asked quickly.
“Don’t you think we could get our host in?”
The Princess was silent for several moments.
“It is a little dangerous, I am afraid,” she said.
“I don’t see why,” Forrest answered. “If he were once in he’d have to hold his tongue, and you can do just what you like with him. He seems to me to be just one of those pulpy sort of persons whom you could persuade into a thing before he had had time to think about it.”
“I will drop him a hint if you like,” the Princess said thoughtfully, “and see how he takes it. Are you sure that the game is worth the candle?”
“Absolutely,” Forrest answered eagerly. “I saw Engleton drop two thousand playing baccarat one night, and he never turned a hair. I wasn’t playing, worse luck.”
“If I can get Cecil alone before dinner,” the Princess said, “I will sound him. I think we had better go back now. We are a little old for romantic wanderings, and the wind is beginning to disarrange my hair.”
“See what you can do with him, then,” Forrest said, as they retraced their steps. “I’ll call in and hear if you’ve anything to tell me on my way down for dinner.”
The Princess nodded. They entered the hall, and Cecil at once drew an easy-chair to the tea-table.
“My good people,” the Princess declared, “I am famished. Your sea air, Cecil, is the most wonderful thing in the world. For years I have not known what it was like to be hungry. Hot cakes, please! And, Jeanne, please make my tea. Jeanne knows just how I like it. Tell us about the smuggler’s cave, Jeanne. Was it really so wonderful?”
“It was very, very weird and very smelly,” she said. “I think that you were wise to turn back.”
Andrew came face to face with his brother in the village street on the next morning. He looked at him for a moment in surprise.
“What have you been doing?” he asked, drily. “Sitting up all night?”
Cecil nodded dejectedly.
“Pretty well,” he admitted. “We played bridge till nearly five o’clock.”
“You lost, I suppose?” Andrew asked.
“Yes, I lost!” Cecil admitted.
“Your party,” Andrew said, “does not seem to me to be an unqualified success.”