The Great Impersonation
Seaman did not at once start on his mission to the Princess. He made his way instead to
the servants' quarters and knocked at the door of the butler's sitting-room. There was no
reply. He tried the handle in vain. The door was locked. A tall, grave-faced man in
sombre black came out from an adjoining apartment.
"You are looking for the person who arrived this evening from abroad, sir?" he enquired.
"I am," Seaman replied. "Has he locked himself in?"
"He has left the Hall, sir!"
"Left!" Seaman repeated. "Do you mean gone away for good?"
"Apparently, sir. I do not understand his language myself, but I believe he considered his
reception here, for some reason or other, unfavourable. He took advantage of the car
which went down to the station for the evening papers and caught the last train."
Seaman was silent for a moment. The news was a shock to him.
"What is your position here?" he asked his informant.
"My name is Reynolds, sir," was the respectful reply. "I am Mr. Pelham's servant."
"Can you tell me why, if this man has left the door here is locked?"
"Mr. Parkins locked it before he went out, sir. He accompanied--Mr. Miller, I think his
name was--to the station."
Seaman had the air of a man not wholly satisfied.
"Is it usual to lock up a sitting-room in this fashion?" he asked.
"Mr. Parkins always does it, sir. The cabinets of cigars are kept there, also the wine-cellar
key and the key of the plate chest. None of the other servants use the room except at Mr.
"I understand," Seaman said, as he turned away. "Much obliged for your information,
Reynolds. I will speak to Mr. Parkins later."
"I will let him know that you desire to see him, sir."
"Good night, Reynolds!"