The Great Impersonation HTML version
There had been a dinner party and a very small reception afterwards at the great Embassy
in Carlton House Terrace. The Ambassador, Prince Terniloff, was bidding farewell to his
wife's cousin, the Princess Eiderstrom, the last of his guests. She drew him on one side
for a moment.
"Your Excellency," she said, "I have been hoping for a word with you all the evening."
"And I with you, dear Stephanie," he answered. "It is very early. Let us sit down for a
He led her towards a settee but she shook her head.
"You have an appointment at half-past eleven," she said. "I wish you to keep it."
"You know, then?"
"I lunched to-day at the Carleton grill room. In the reception-room I came face to face
with Leopold Von Ragastein."
The Ambassador made no remark. It seemed to be his wish to hear first all that his
companion had to say. After a moment's pause she continued:
"I spoke to him, and he denied himself. To me! I think that those were the most terrible
seconds of my life. I have never suffered more. I shall never suffer so much again."
"It was most unfortunate," the Prince murmured sympathetically.
"This evening," she went on, "I received a visit from a man whom I took at first to be an
insignificant member of the German bourgeoisie. I learnt something of his true position
later. He came to me to explain that Leopold was engaged in this country on secret
service, that he was passing under the name which he gave me,--Sir Everard Dominey, an
English baronet, long lost in Africa. You know of this?"
"I know that to-night I am receiving a visit from Sir Everard Dominey."
"He is to work under your auspices?"
"By no means," the Prince rejoined warmly. "I am not favourably inclined towards this
network of espionage. The school of diplomacy in which I have been brought up tries to
work without such ignoble means."
"One realises that," she said. "Leopold is coming, however, to-night, to pay his respects