Timothy, placing the Blue book before him, studied a paper sent round by the Treasury for information. Mr. Crawley, his fellow-clerk, impaled a letter on a skewer.
Jacob rose from his chair in Hyde Park, tore his ticket to pieces, and walked away.
“Such a sunset,” wrote Mrs. Flanders in her letter to Archer at Singapore. “One couldn’t make up one’s mind to come indoors,” she wrote. “It seemed wicked to waste even a moment.”
The long windows of Kensington Palace flushed fiery rose as Jacob walked away; a flock of wild duck flew over the Serpentine; and the trees were stood against the sky, blackly, magnificently.
“Jacob,” wrote Mrs. Flanders, with the red light on her page, “is hard at work after his delightful journey...”
“The Kaiser,” the far-away voice remarked in Whitehall, “received me in audience.”
“Now I know that face—” said the Reverend Andrew Floyd, coming out of Carter’s shop in Piccadilly, “but who the dickens—?” and he watched Jacob, turned round to look at him, but could not be sure—
“Oh, Jacob Flanders!” he remembered in a flash.
But he was so tall; so unconscious; such a fine young fellow.
“I gave him Byron’s works,” Andrew Floyd mused, and started forward, as Jacob crossed the road; but hesitated, and let the moment pass, and lost the opportunity.
Another procession, without banners, was blocking Long Acre. Carriages, with dowagers in amethyst and gentlemen spotted with carnations, intercepted cabs and motor-cars turned in the opposite direction, in which jaded men in white waistcoats lolled, on their way home to shrubberies and billiard-rooms in Putney and Wimbledon.
Two barrel-organs played by the kerb, and horses coming out of Aldridge’s with white labels on their buttocks straddled across the road and were smartly jerked back.
Mrs. Durrant, sitting with Mr. Wortley in a motor-car, was impatient lest they should miss the overture.
But Mr. Wortley, always urbane, always in time for the overture, buttoned his gloves, and admired Miss Clara.
“A shame to spend such a night in the theatre!” said Mrs. Durrant, seeing all the windows of the coachmakers in Long Acre ablaze.
“Think of your moors!” said Mr. Wortley to Clara.
“Ah! but Clara likes this better,” Mrs. Durrant laughed.
“I don’t know—really,” said Clara, looking at the blazing windows. She started.
She saw Jacob.
“Who?” asked Mrs. Durrant sharply, leaning forward.
But she saw no one.
Under the arch of the Opera House large faces and lean ones, the powdered and the hairy, all alike were red in the sunset; and, quickened by the great hanging lamps with their repressed primrose lights, by the tramp, and the scarlet, and the pompous ceremony, some ladies looked for a moment into steaming bedrooms near by, where women with loose hair leaned out of windows, where girls—where children—(the long mirrors held the ladies suspended) but one must follow; one must not block the way.