The Devil's Paw
Julian entered the drawing-room hurriedly a few minutes later. He glanced around
quickly, conscious of a distinct feeling of disappointment. His mother, who was
arranging a bridge table, called him over to her side.
"You have the air, my dear boy, of missing some one," she remarked with a smile.
"I want particularly to speak to Miss Abbeway," he confided.
Lady Maltenby smiled tolerantly.
"After nearly two hours of conversation at dinner! Well, I won't keep you in suspense.
She wanted a quiet place to write some letters, so I sent her into the boudoir."
Julian hastened off, with a word of thanks. The boudoir was a small room opening from
the suite which had been given to the Princess and her niece a quaint, almost circular
apartment, hung with faded blue Chinese silk and furnished with fragments of the Louis
Seize period, - a rosewood cabinet, in particular, which had come from Versailles, and
which was always associated in Julian's mind with the faint fragrance of two Sevres jars
of dried rose leaves. The door opened almost noiselessly.
Catherine, who was seated before a small, ebony writing table, turned her head at his
"You?" she exclaimed.
Julian listened for a moment and then closed the door. She sat watching him, with the pen
still in her fingers.
"Miss Abbeway," he said, "have you heard any news this evening?"
The pen with which she had been tapping the table was suddenly motionless. She turned
a little farther around.
"News?" she repeated. "No! Is there any?"
"A man was caught upon the marshes this morning and shot an hour ago. They say that.
he was a spy.
She sat as though turned to stone.