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The Zeppelin's Passenger

Chapter 18
Sir Henry was standing with his hands in his pockets and a very blank expression upon
his face, looking out upon the Admiralty Square. He was alone in a large, barely
furnished apartment, the walls of which were so hung with charts that it had almost the
appearance of a schoolroom prepared for an advanced geography class. The table from
which he had risen was covered with an amazing number of scientific appliances, some
samples of rock and sand, two microscopes and several telephones.
Sir Henry, having apparently exhausted the possibilities of the outlook, turned somewhat
reluctantly away to find himself confronted by an elderly gentleman of cheerful
appearance, who at that moment had entered the room. From the fact that he had done so
without knocking, it was obvious that he was an intimate.
"Well, my gloomy friend," the newcomer demanded, "what's wrong with you?"
Sir Henry was apparently relieved to see his visitor. He pushed a chair towards him and
indicated with a gesture of invitation a box of cigars upon his desk.
"Your little Laranagas," he observed. "Try one."
The visitor opened the box, sniffed at its contents, and helped himself.
"Now, then, get at it, Henry," he enjoined. "I've a Boardin half-an-hour, and three
dispatches to read before I go in. What's your trouble?"
"Look here, Rayton," was the firm reply, "I want to chuck this infernal hole-and-corner
business. I tell you I've worked it threadbare at Dreymarsh and it's getting jolly
uncomfortable."
The newcomer grinned.
"Poor chap!" he observed, watching his cigar smoke curl upwards. "You're in a nasty
mess, you know, Henry. Did I tell you that I had a letter from your wife the other day,
asking me if I couldn't find you a job?"
Sir Henry waited a little grimly, whilst his friend enjoyed the joke.
"That's all very well," he said, "but we are on the point of a separation, or something of
the sort. I'll admit it was all right at first to run the thing on the Q.T., but that's pretty well
busted up by now. Why, according to your own reports, they know all about me on the
other side."
"Not a doubt about it," the other agreed. "I'm not sure that you haven't got a spy fellow
down at Dreymarsh now."
"I'm quite sure of it," Sir Henry replied grimly. "The brute was lunching with my wife at
the Carlton to-day, and, as luck would have it, I was landed with that Russian Admiral's
 
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