18 Gerard ; or,
Champion, as he lingered at the carriage-door for the one half-
minute allowed by the Jack in ofBce at his elbow.
She gave him her hand, and even pressed the hand which held
hers, with more sentiment than she was wont to show,
"Drive on, coachman," shouted the Commissionaire, "Now
then, next carriage."
No time for sentimental partings there !
Hillersdon walked away from the theatre, meaning to pick up
the first hansom that offered itself. He had not gone three steps
along the Bow Street pavement when Jermyn was close beside him,
" Are you going home, Mr, Hillersdon ? " he asked, in a friendly
tone, " Delightful opera, ' Don Giovanni,' ain't it ? The best out
and away, ' Faust' is my next favourite ; but even Gounod can't
"I dare say not; but I am no connoisseur. Good night, Mr,
Jermyn, I am going home immediately,"
" Don't, Come and have some supper ■with me. I only half told
your fortune this afternoon, you were so infernally impatient. I
have a good deal more to tell you. Come and have some supper
in my chambers,"
" Some other night, perhaps, Mr. Jermyn. I am going straight
" And you mean there shall be no other nights in your life ? "
said Jermyn, in a low, silky voice that made Hillersdon savage, for
it jarred upon his irritated nerves more than the harshest accents
could have done,
" Good night," he said curtly, turning on his heel.
Jermyn was not to be repulsed.
" Come home with me," he said; " I won't leave you while you
have the suicide's line on your forehead. Come to supper with me,
Hillersdon, I have a brand of champagne that will smooth out that
ugly wrinkle, if you'll only give the stuff a fair trial,"
"I don't know where you live, and I don't care a jot for your
wines or anybody else's. I am leaving town to-morrow morning,
and I want my last hours in London for my own purposes,"
Jermyn put his arm through Hillersdon's, wheeled him round in
the direction of Long-acre, and quietly led him away. That was
his answer to Hillersdon's testy speech, and the young man sub¬
mitted, feeling a vis inertiae, a languid indifference which made him
consentient to a stranger's will, having lost all will-power of his