The Great Impersonation HTML version

Chapter 2
Dominey slept till late the following morning, and when he woke at last from a long,
dreamless slumber, he was conscious of a curious quietness in the camp. The doctor, who
came in to see him, explained it immediately after his morning greeting.
"His Excellency," he announced, "has received important despatches from home. He has
gone to meet an envoy from Dar-es-Salaam. He will be away for three days. He desired
that you would remain his guest until his return."
"Very good of him," Dominey murmured. "Is there any European news?"
"I do not know," was the stolid reply. "His Excellency desired me to inform you that if
you cared for a short trip along the banks of the river, southward, there are a dozen boys
left and some ponies. There are plenty of lion, and rhino may be met with at one or two
places which the natives know of."
Dominey bathed and dressed, sipped his excellent coffee, and lounged about the place in
uncertain mood. He unburdened himself to the doctor as they drank tea together late in
the afternoon.
"I am not in the least keen on hunting," he confessed, "and I feel like a horrible sponge,
but all the same I have a queer sort of feeling that I'd like to see Von Ragastein again.
Your silent chief rather fascinates me, Herr Doctor. He is a man. He has something which
I have lost."
"He is a great man," the doctor declared enthusiastically. "What he sets his mind to do, he
"I suppose I might have been like that," Dominey sighed, "if I had had an incentive. Have
you noticed the likeness between us, Herr Doctor?"
The latter nodded.
"I noticed it from the first moment of your arrival," he assented. "You are very much
alike yet very different. The resemblance must have been still more remarkable in your
youth. Time has dealt with your features according to your deserts."
"Well, you needn't rub it in," Dominey protested irritably.
"I am rubbing nothing in," the doctor replied with unruffled calm. "I speak the truth. If
you had been possessed of the same moral stamina as His Excellency, you might have
preserved your health and the things that count. You might have been as useful to your
country as he is to his."