"Gentlemen," he said, "I owe you my most profound apologies. I am called away at once on a matter of urgent business." "But this is most annoying," the Prince declared irritably. "Here comes my saviour," Kingley remarked, as another man entered the card room. "Henderson will take my place. Glad I haven't to break you up, after all. Henderson, will you play a rubber?" The newcomer assented.
"The same Lord Dorminster who was in the Government many years ago?" "He was Foreign Secretary when I was Governor of Jamaica," Sir Daniel answered. "A very brilliant man he was in those days." Immelan nodded thoughtfully. "I remember," he said. Nigel Kingley, on leaving the St.
"Personally, I have come to the conclusion," he declared, "that the raison d'être for the club seems to be passing. There is no diplomacy, nowadays, and every man who pays his taxes is a gentleman. Kingley, you are the youngest. Ransack the club and find a fourth." The Honourable Nigel Kingley smiled lazily from the depths of his easy-chair.
Kingley for my partner, and the game one of skill," was the courteous reply, "I do not need to limit my stakes." A servant crossed the room, bringing a note upon a tray. He presented it to Kingley, who opened and read it through without change of countenance. When he had finished it, however, he laid his cards face downwards upon the table.
Nigel Kingley had been a soldier in his youth and he was a brave man. Nevertheless, the horror of these things struck a cold chill to his heart. He seemed suddenly to be looking into the faces of spectres, to hear the birth of the winds of destruction. "That is all I have to say to you for the moment," his uncle concluded gravely.
Immelan frowned slightly as he glanced across the room. "There is not much to tell," he answered, without enthusiasm. "The young lady is, as you know, Lady Maggie Trent. The older lady, with the white hair, is, I believe, her aunt. The name of their escort is Lord Dorminster. You would probably know him by the name of Kingley he has only just succeeded to the title."
"Are you being meteorological or complimentary?" she asked, smiling. "Will you present your companion? I have heard of Mr. Kingley." "With the utmost pleasure," the Prince replied. "Mr. Kingley, through the unfortunate death of a relative, is now the Earl of Dorminster Mademoiselle Karetsky."
Nigel Kingley made his adieux and crossed the room. Immelan watched him curiously. "What is our friend Kingley's profession?" he enquired. "He has no profession," Sir Daniel replied. "He has never come into touch with the sordid needs of these money-grubbing days. He is the nephew and heir of the Earl of Dorminster." Immelan looked away from the retreating figure. "Lord Dorminster," he murmured.
He looked across the table to where Immelan sat displaying the card which he had just cut. The eyes of the two men met. A few seconds of somewhat significant silence followed. Then Immelan gathered up the cards. "I have the utmost respect for Mr. Kingley as an adversary," he said. The latter bowed a little ironically. "May you always preserve that sentiment!
"Don't come," he begged. "Is it a stroke?" she faltered. "I am afraid that he is dead," Nigel answered simply. They went out into the hall and waited there in shocked silence until the doctor arrived. The latter's examination lasted only a few seconds. Then he pointed to the telephone. "This is very terrible," he said. "I am afraid you had better ring up Scotland Yard, Mr. Kingley.