"Very soon indeed, young man," he said quietly. "Very soon indeed.…"
Hugh stepped out into the warm sunshine and spoke to his chauffeur.
"Take her out into the main road, Jenkins," he said, "and wait for me outside the entrance to the next house. I shan't be long."
Then he strolled through the garden towards the little wicket-gate that led to The Larches. Phyllis! The thought of her was singing in his heart to the exclusion of everything else. Just a few minutes with her; just the touch of her hand, the faint smell of the scent she used—and then back to the game.
He had almost reached the gate, when, with a sudden crashing in the undergrowth, Jem Smith blundered out into the path. His naturally ruddy face was white, and he stared round fearfully.
"Gawd! sir," he cried, "mind out. 'Ave yer seen it?"
"Seen what, Jem?" asked Drummond.
"That there brute. 'E's escaped; and if 'e meets a stranger——" He left the sentence unfinished, and stood listening. From somewhere behind the house came a deep-throated, snarling roar; then the clang of a padlock shooting home in metal, followed by a series of heavy thuds as if some big animal was hurling itself against the bars of a cage.
"They've got it," muttered Jem, mopping his brow.
"You seem to have a nice little crowd of pets about the house," remarked Drummond, putting a hand on the man's arm as he was about to move