“From the person in Mr. Parkins’ room—to Mr. Seaman, sir,” the man announced, in a low tone.
Dominey took it from the salver with a little nod. Then he turned to where the youngest and most frivolous of his guests were in the act of rising from the tea table.
“A game of pills, Eddy,” he proposed. “They tell me that pool is one of your greatest accomplishments.”
“I’m pretty useful,” the young man confessed, with a satisfied chuckle. “Give you a black at snooker, what?”
Dominey took his arm and led him into the billiard-room.
“You will give me nothing, young fellow,” he replied. “Set them up, and I will show you how I made a living for two months at Johannesberg!”
The evening at Dominey hall was practically a repetition of the previous one, with a different set of guests from the outer world. After dinner, Dominey was absent for a few minutes and returned with Rosamund upon his arm. She received the congratulations of her neighbours charmingly, and a little court soon gathered around her. Doctor Harrison, who had been dining, remained upon the outskirts, listening to her light-hearted and at times almost brilliant chatter with grave and watchful interest. Dominey, satisfied that she was being entertained, obeyed Terniloff’s gestured behest and strolled with him to a distant corner of the hall.
“Let me now, my dear host,” the Prince began, with some eagerness in his tone, “continue and, I trust, conclude the conversation to which all that I said this morning was merely the prelude.”
“I am entirely at your service,” murmured his host.
“I have tried to make you understand that from my own point of view—and I am in a position to know something—the fear of war between this country and our own has passed. England is willing to make all reasonable sacrifices to ensure peace. She wants peace, she intends peace, therefore there will be peace. Therefore, I maintain, my young friend, it is far better for you to disappear at once from this false position.”
“I am scarcely my own master,” Dominey replied. “You yourself must know that. I am here as a servant under orders.”
“Join your protests with mine,” the Prince suggested. “I will make a report directly I get back to London. To my mind, the matter is urgent. If anything should lead to the discovery of your false position in this country, the friendship between us which has become a real pleasure to me must seriously undermine my own position.”
Dominey had risen to his feet and was standing on the hearthrug, in front of a fire of blazing logs. The Ambassador was sitting with crossed legs in a comfortable easy-chair, smoking one of the long, thin cigars which were his particular fancy.
“Your Excellency,” Dominey said, “there is just one fallacy in all that you have said.”