“Elise was there,” he remarked.
“And you danced with her, of course. She’s such a ripping dancer.”
“Twice. When I found you were not there I went on to the club,” he replied, with his usual air of boredom. “When do you expect your mother back?”
“Next Tuesday. I’m going down to Huntingdon to-morrow to stay with the Fishers.”
“Oh! by the way,” he remarked suddenly. “Tubby Hall, who is just back from Madrid, told me in the club last night that he’d seen your friend Henfrey in a restaurant there with a pretty French girl.”
“In Madrid!” echoed Dorise, for she had no idea of her lover’s whereabouts. “He must have been mistaken surely.”
“No. Tubby is an old friend of Henfrey’s. He says that he and the girl seemed to be particularly good friends.”
“You tell me this in order to cause me annoyance!” she exclaimed.
“Not at all. I’ve only told you what Tubby said.”
“Did your friend speak to Mr. Henfrey?”
“I think not. But I really didn’t inquire,” Sherrard replied, not failing, however, to note how puzzled she was.
Lady Ranscomb was already assuring him that the girl’s affection for the absconding Henfrey would, sooner or later, fade out. More than once he and she had held consultation concerning the proposed marriage, and more than once Sherrard had been on the point of withdrawing from the contest for the young girl’s heart. But her mother was never tired of bidding him be patient, and saying that in the end he would obtain his desire.
Sherrard, however, little dreamed how great was Dorise’s love for Hugh, and how deeply she regretted having written that hasty letter to Shapley.
Yet one of Hugh’s friends had met him in Madrid in company with what was described as a pretty young French girl!
What was the secret of it all? Was Hugh really guilty of the attempt upon the notorious Mademoiselle? If not, why did he not face the charge like a man?
Such were her thoughts when, an hour later, her mother’s car took her out to Kensington to lunch with her old school friend who was on the point of being married to a man who had won great distinction in the Air Force, and whose portrait was almost daily in the papers.
Would she ever marry Hugh, she wondered, as she sat gazing blankly out upon the London traffic. She would write to him, but, alas! she knew neither the name under which he was going, nor his address.
And a telephone message to Mr. Peters’s house had been answered to the effect that the man whose hand was gloved was abroad, and the date of his return uncertain.
THE SPARROW’S NEST
Mademoiselle Lisette met her two guests at Vian’s small but exclusive restaurant in the Rue Daunou, and all three had a merry meal together. Afterwards The Sparrow smoked a good cigar and became amused at the young girl’s chatter.