“Yes. She’s making her home with Mrs. Bond for the present. She returns here to-morrow.”
As he said this, he watched the young man’s face. It was sphinx-like.
“Oh! That’s jolly!” he replied, with well assumed satisfaction. “It seems such an age since we last met—nearly a year before my father’s death, I believe.”
In his heart he had no great liking for the girl, although she was bright, vivacious and extremely good company.
Next afternoon the pair met in the hall after the car had brought her from Guildford station.
“Hallo, Hugh!” she cried as she grasped his hand. “Uncle wrote and told me you were here! How jolly, isn’t it? Why—you seem to have grown older,” she laughed.
“And you younger,” he replied, bending over her hand gallantly. “I hear you’ve been all over the world of late!”
“Yes. Wasn’t it awfully good of Mrs. Bond? I had a ripping time. I enjoyed New York ever so much. I find this place a bit dull after Paris though, so I’m often away with friends.”
And he followed her into the big morning-room where Mrs. Bond, alias Molly Maxwell, was awaiting her.
That afternoon there had been several callers; a retired admiral and his wife, and two county magistrates with their womenfolk, for since her residence at Shapley Mrs. Bond had been received in a good many smart houses, especially by the nouveau riche who abound in that neighbourhood. But the callers had left and they were now alone.
As Louise sat opposite the woman who had taken her under her charge, Hugh gazed at her furtively and saw that there was no comparison between her and the girl he loved so deeply.
How strange it was, he thought. If he asked her to be his wife and they married, he would at once become a wealthy man and inherit all his father’s possessions. True, she was very sweet and possessed more than the ordinary chic and good taste in dress. Yet he felt that he could never fulfil his dead father’s curious desire.
He could never marry her—never!
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK GLOVE
On his way out of London, Hugh had made excuse and stopped the car at a post office in Putney, whence he sent an express note to Dorise, telling her his change of address. He though it wiser not to post it.
Hence it was on the morning following Louise’s arrival at Shapley, he received a letter from Dorise, enclosing one she had received under cover for him. He had told Dorise to address him as “Mr. Carlton Symes.”
It was on dark-blue paper, such as is usually associated with the law or officialdom. Written in a neat, educated hand, it read:
“DEAR MR. HENFREY,—I hear that you have left Abingdon Road, and am greatly interested to know the reason. You will, no doubt, recognize me as the friend who sent a car for you at Monte Carlo. Please call at the above address at the earliest possible moment. Be careful that you are not watched. Say nothing to anybody, wherever you may be. Better call about ten-thirty P.M., and ask for me. Have no fear. I am still your friend,