The Great Impersonation HTML version
The heat of a sulphurous afternoon--a curious parallel in its presage of coming storm to
the fast-approaching crisis in Dominey's own affairs--had driven Dominey from his study
on to the terrace. In a chair by his side lounged Eddy Pelham, immaculate in a suit of
white flannels. It was the fifth day since the mystery of the Black Wood had been solved.
"Ripping, old chap, of you to have me down here," the young man remarked amiably, his
hand stretching out to a tumbler which stood by his side. "The country, when you can get
ice, is a paradise in this weather, especially when London's so full of ghastly rumours and
all that sort of thing. What's the latest news of her ladyship?"
"Still unconscious," Dominey replied. "The doctors, however, seem perfectly satisfied.
Everything depends on her waking moments."
The young man abandoned the subject with a murmur of hopeful sympathy. His eyes
were fixed upon a little cloud of dust in the distance.
"Expecting visitors to-day?" he asked.
"Should not be surprised," was the somewhat laconic answer.
The young man stood up, yawned and stretched himself.
"I'll make myself scarce," he said. "Jove!" he added approvingly, lingering for a moment.
"Jolly well cut, the tunic of your uniform, Dominey! If a country in peril ever decides to
waive the matter of my indifferent physique and send me out to the rescue, I shall go to
"Mine is only the local Yeomanry rig-out," he replied. "They will nab you for the
Dominey stepped back through the open windows into his study as Pelham strolled off.
He was seated at his desk, poring over some letters, when a few minutes later Seaman
was ushered into the room. For a single moment his muscles tightened, his frame became
tense. Then he realised his visitor's outstretched hands of welcome and he relaxed.
Seaman was perspiring, vociferous and excited.
"At last!" He exclaimed. "Donner und!-- My God Dominey, what is this?"
"Thirteen years ago," Dominey explained, "I resigned a commission in the Norfolk
Yeomanry. That little matter, however, has been adjusted. At a crisis like this--"