Page:BulldogDrummondSapper.djvu/275

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271
LAKINGTON PLAYS HIS LAST "COUP"

guests, had spared no pains to make the evening a success. The Duke, bored to extinction, had been five times routed out of his study by his indefatigable spouse, and was now, at the moment Hugh first came in sight of the house, engaged in shaking hands with a tall, aristocratic-looking Indian….

"How d'y do," he murmured vacantly. "What did you say the dam' fellah's name was, my dear?" he whispered in a hoarse undertone to the Duchess, who stood beside him welcoming the distinguished foreigner.

"We're so glad you could come, Mr. Ram Dar," remarked the Duchess affably. "Everyone is so looking forward to your wonderful entertainment." Round her neck were the historic pearls, and as the Indian bowed low over her outstretched hand, his eyes gleamed for a second.

"Your Grace is too kind." His voice was low and deep, and he glanced thoughtfully around the circle of faces near him. "Maybe the sands that come from the mountains that lie beyond the everlasting snows will speak the truth; maybe the gods will be silent. Who knows … who knows?"

As if unconsciously his gaze rested on the Duke, who manfully rose to the occasion.

"Precisely, Mr. Rum Rum," he murmured helpfully; "who indeed? If they let you down, don't you know, perhaps you could show us a card trick?"

He retired in confusion, abashed by the baleful stare of the Duchess, and the rest of the guests drew closer. The jazz band was having supper; the last of the perspiring tenants had departed, and now the bonne bouche of the evening was about to begin.