The Great Impersonation
Dominey spent a very impatient hour that evening in his sitting-room at the Carlton,
waiting for Seaman. It was not until nearly seven that the latter appeared.
"Are you aware," Dominey asked him, "that I am expected to call upon the Princess
Eiderstrom at seven o'clock?"
"I have your word for it," Seaman replied, "but I see no tragedy in the situation. The
Princess is a woman of sense and a woman of political insight. While I cannot
recommend you to take her entirely into your confidence, I still think that a middle course
can be judiciously pursued."
"Rubbish!" Dominey exclaimed. "As Leopold Von Ragastein, the Princess has
indisputable claims upon me and my liberty, claims which would altogether interfere
with the career of Everard Dominey."
With methodical neatness, Seaman laid his hat, gloves and walking stick upon the
sideboard. He then looked into the connecting bedroom, closed and fastened the door and
extended himself in an easy-chair.
"Sit opposite to me, my friend," he said. "We will talk together."
Dominey obeyed a little sullenly. His companion, however, ignored his demeanour.
"Now, my friend," he said, beating upon the palm of one hand with the forefinger of his
other, "I am a man of commerce and I do things in a business way. Let us take stock of
our position. Three months ago this very week, we met by appointment at a certain hotel
in Cape Town."
"Only three months," Dominey muttered.
"We were unknown to one another," Seaman continued. "I had only heard of the Baron
Von Ragastein as a devoted German citizen and patriot, engaged in an important
enterprise in East Africa by special intercession of the Kaiser, on account of a certain
unfortunate happening in Hungary."
"I killed a man in a duel," Dominey said slowly, with his eyes fixed upon his
companion's. "It was not an unforgivable act."
"There are duels and duels. A fight between two young men, in defence of the honour of
or to gain the favour of a young lady in their own station of life, has never been against
the conventions of the Court. On the other hand, to become the lover of the wife of one of
the greatest nobles in Hungary, and to secure possession by killing the husband in the
duel which his honour makes a necessity is looked upon very differently."