Sir Timothy leaned back in his place and remained silent. Soon they passed out of the land of tired people, of stalls decked out with unsavoury provender, of foetid smells and unwholesome-looking houses. They passed through a street of silent warehouses on to the Embankment. A stronger breeze came down between the curving arc of lights.
“You are not sorry that you brought me?” Lady Cynthia asked, suddenly holding out her hand.
Sir Timothy took it in his. For some reason or other, he made no answer at all.
The car stopped in front of the great house in Grosvenor Square. Lady Cynthia turned to her companion.
“You must come in, please,” she said. “I insist, if it is only for five minutes.”
Sir Timothy followed her across the hall to a curved recess, where the footman who had admitted them touched a bell, and a small automatic lift came down.
“I am taking you to my own quarters,” she explained. “They are rather cut off but I like them—especially on hot nights.”
They glided up to the extreme top of the house. She opened the gates and led the way into what was practically an attic sitting-room, decorated in black and white. Wide-flung doors opened onto the leads, where comfortable chairs, a small table and an electric standard were arranged. They were far above the tops of the other houses, and looked into the green of the Park.
“This is where I bring very few people,” she said. “This is where, even after my twenty-eight years of fraudulent life, I am sometimes myself. Wait.”
There were feminine drinks and sandwiches arranged on the table. She opened the cupboard of a small sideboard just inside the sitting-room, however, and produced whisky and a syphon of soda. There was a pail of ice in a cool corner. From somewhere in the distance came the music of violins floating through the window of a house where a dance was in progress. They could catch a glimpse of the striped awning and the long line of waiting vehicles with their twin eyes of fire. She curled herself up on a settee, flung a cushion at Sir Timothy, who was already ensconced in a luxurious easy-chair, and with a tumbler of iced sherbet in one hand, and a cigarette in the other, looked across at him.
“I am not sure,” she said, “that you have not to-night dispelled an illusion.”
“What manner of one?” he asked.
“Above all things,” she went on, “I have always looked upon you as wicked. Most people do. I think that is one reason why so many of the women find you attractive. I suppose it is why I have found you attractive.”
The smile was back upon his lips. He bowed a little, and, leaning forward, dropped a chunk of ice into his whisky and soda.
“Dear Lady Cynthia,” he murmured, “don’t tell me that I am going to slip back in your estimation into some normal place.”