The Great Impersonation HTML version

Chapter 26
These were days, to all dwellers in London, of vivid impressions, of poignant memories,
reasserting themselves afterwards with a curious sense of unreality, as though belonging
to another set of days and another world. Dominey long remembered his dinner that
evening in the sombre, handsomely furnished dining-room of his town house in Berkeley
Square. Although it lacked the splendid proportions of the banqueting hall at Dominey, it
was still a fine apartment, furnished in the Georgian period, with some notable pictures
upon the walls, and with a wonderful ceiling and fireplace. Dominey and Rosamund
dined alone, and though the table had been reduced to its smallest proportions, the space
between them was yet considerable. As soon as Parkins had gravely put the port upon the
table, Rosamund rose to her feet and, instead of leaving the room, pointed for the servant
to place a chair for her by Dominey's side.
"I shall be like your men friends, Everard," she declared, "when the ladies have left, and
draw up to your side. Now what do we do? Tell stories? I promise you that I will be a
wonderful listener."
"First of all you drink half a glass of this port," he declared, filling her glass, "then you
peel me one of those peaches, and we divide it. After which we listen for a ring at the
bell. To-night I expect a visitor."
"A visitor?"
"Not a social one," he assured her. "A matter of business which I fear will take me from
you for the rest of the evening. So let us make the most of the time until he comes."
She commenced her task with the peach, talking to him all the time a little gravely, a
sweet and picturesque picture of a graceful and very desirable woman, her delicate shape
and artistic fragility more than ever accentuated by the sombreness of the background.
"Do you know, Everard," she said, "I am so happy in London here with you, and I feel all
the time so strong and well. I can read and understand the books which were a maze of
print to me before. I can see the things in the pictures, and feel the thrill of the music,
which seemed to come to me, somehow, before, all dislocated and discordant. You
understand, dear?"
"Of course," he answered gravely.
"I do not wonder," she went on, "that Doctor Harrison is proud of me for a patient, but
there are many times when I feel a dull pain in my heart, because I know that, whatever
he or anybody else might say, I am not quite cured."
"Rosamund dear," he protested.