The Great Impersonation HTML version

Chapter 22
The evening at Dominey hall was practically a repetition of the previous one, with a
different set of guests from the outer world. After dinner, Dominey was absent for a few
minutes and returned with Rosamund upon his arm. She received the congratulations of
her neighbours charmingly, and a little court soon gathered around her. Doctor Harrison,
who had been dining, remained upon the outskirts, listening to her light-hearted and at
times almost brilliant chatter with grave and watchful interest. Dominey, satisfied that she
was being entertained, obeyed Terniloff's gestured behest and strolled with him to a
distant corner of the hall.
"Let me now, my dear host," the Prince began, with some eagerness in his tone, "continue
and, I trust, conclude the conversation to which all that I said this morning was merely
the prelude."
"I am entirely at your service," murmured his host.
"I have tried to make you understand that from my own point of view-- and I am in a
position to know something--the fear of war between this country and our own has
passed. England is willing to make all reasonable sacrifices to ensure peace. She wants
peace, she intends peace, therefore there will be peace. Therefore, I maintain, my young
friend, it is far better for you to disappear at once from this false position."
"I am scarcely my own master," Dominey replied. "You yourself must know that. I am
here as a servant under orders."
"Join your protests with mine," the Prince suggested. "I will make a report directly I get
back to London. To my mind, the matter is urgent. If anything should lead to the
discovery of your false position in this country, the friendship between us which has
become a real pleasure to me must seriously undermine my own position."
Dominey had risen to his feet and was standing on the hearthrug, in front of a fire of
blazing logs. The Ambassador was sitting with crossed legs in a comfortable easy-chair,
smoking one of the long, thin cigars which were his particular fancy.
"Your Excellency," Dominey said, "there is just one fallacy in all that you have said."
"A fallacy?"
"You have come to the absolute conclusion," Dominey continued, "that because England
wants peace there will be peace. I am of Seaman's mind. I believe in the ultimate power
of the military party of Germany. I believe that in time they will thrust their will upon the
Kaiser, if he is not at the present moment secretly in league with them. Therefore, I
believe that there will be war."