"Peter, old soul," cried Hugh joyfully, "I never thought the day would come when I should be pleased to see your face, but it has! For Heaven's sake get a move on with that blinking ladder; I'm getting cramp."
"Ted and his pal, Hugh, have toddled off in your car," said Peter, "so that only leaves us four and Toby."
For a moment Hugh stared at him blankly, while he did some rapid mental arithmetic. He even neglected to descend at once by the ladder which had at last been placed in position. "Ted and us four and Toby" made six—and six was the strength of the party as it had arrived. Adding the pal made seven; so who the deuce was the pal?
The matter was settled just as he reached the ground. Lakington, wild-eyed and almost incoherent, rushed from the house, and, drawing Peterson on one side, spoke rapidly in a whisper.
"It's all right," muttered Algy rapidly. "They're half-way to London by now, and going like hell if I know Ted."
It was then that Hugh started to laugh. He laughed till the tears poured down his face, and Peterson's livid face of fury made him laugh still more.
"Oh, you priceless pair!" he sobbed. "Right under your bally noses. Stole away. Yoicks!" There was another interlude for further hilarity. "Give it up, you two old dears, and take to knitting. Miss one and purl three, Henry my boy, and Carl in a nightcap can pick up the stitches you drop." He took out his cigarette-case. "Well, au revoir. Doubtless we shall meet again quite soon. And,