Adrien Leroy (Chapter 4, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 4

The sun had risen cold and bright when Adrien Leroy awoke, and his first
question was for the child, Jessica. But here a surprise awaited him,
for the bird had flown. Norgate and the housekeeper had found the room
tenantless. For some inexplicable reasons of her own she must have
stolen noiselessly out while the other occupants of the flat were still
sleeping.

Adrien made no comment, but proceeded to undergo the labours of the
toilet. A cold bath is an excellent tonic; and when Leroy entered the
dining-room his calm face bore no traces of his comparatively sleepless
night. He sat down to breakfast, waited on by the attentive Norgate, and
turned over the heap of letters which lay beside his plate. During his
leisured meal he opened them. They were principally invitations, though
a few of them were bills--big sums, many of them, for horses,
dinner-parties, supper-parties, jewellery, flowers--all the
hundred-and-one trifles which were as necessary to a man in his position
as light and air.

With a gesture of weariness, he pushed the pile from him, and throwing
them carelessly into the drawer of a buhl cabinet, left them until such
time as Jasper Vermont could attend to them.

"Where do I dine to-night?" he asked presently.

"At the Marquis of Heathcotes', sir--at eight," replied Norgate, who
knew his master's engagements better than did the young man himself.

Leroy nodded absently.

"Order the new motor for four o'clock. I want to see how it goes."

"Yes, sir." The confidential servant coughed and looked slightly
embarrassed. "I may mention, sir, that Perrier has sent in his account
for the costumes made for the Fancy Dress Carnival at Prince's."

"Refer him to Mr. Vermont," was the calm reply. "I have sir, several
times, but he wants to see you personally. It's a matter of
discount----"

"Send him to Mr. Vermont. I know nothing of his bill or his discount.
Surely you know that, Norgate," Leroy interrupted impatiently.

The discreet Norgate retreated silently; and ten minutes later Leroy
started for his morning canter in the Row. Here, meeting and chatting
with his numerous friends, the morning passed quickly enough; and when
Leroy returned to his chambers again, Norgate was putting the finishing
touches to the table already set for lunch.

"Covers for four?" said his master, as he entered the room. "Who is
coming?"

"Mr. Shelton, Lord Standon, and Mr. Paxhorn, sir."

"Ah, yes, to be sure," replied the host, who had completely forgotten
the invitation. "I thought it was for to-morrow."

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