The Great Impersonation HTML version
Dominey spent a curiously placid, and, to those with whom he was brought into contact,
an entirely satisfactory afternoon. With Mr. Mangan by his side, murmuring amiable
platitudes, and Mr. Johnson, his agent, opposite, revelling in the unusual situation of a
satisfied landlord and delighted tenants, he made practically the entire round of the
Dominey estates. They reached home late, but Dominey, although he seemed to be living
in another world, was not neglectful of the claims of hospitality. Probably for the first
time in their lives, Mr. Johnson and Lees, the bailiff, watched the opening of a magnum
of champagne. Mr. Johnson cleared his throat as he raised his glass.
"It isn't only on my own account, Sir Everard," he said, "that I drink your hearty good
health. I have your tenants too in my mind. They've had a rough time, some of them, and
they've stood it like white men. So here's from them and me to you, sir, and may we see
plenty of you in these parts."
Mr. Lees associated himself with these sentiments, and the glasses were speedily emptied
and filled again.
"I suppose you know, Sir Everard," the agent observed, "that what you've promised to do
to-day will cost a matter of ten to fifteen thousand pounds."
"Before I go to bed to-night," he said, "I shall send a cheque for twenty thousand pounds
to the estate account at your bank at Wells. The money is there waiting, put aside for just
that one purpose and-- well, you may just as well have it."
Agent and bailiff leaned back in the tonneau of their motor-car, half an hour later, with
immense cigars in their mouths and a pleasant, rippling warmth in their veins. They had
the sense of having drifted into fairyland. Their philosophy, however, met the situation.
"It's a fair miracle," Mr. Lees declared.
"A modern romance," Mr. Johnson, who read novels, murmured. "Hello, here's a visitor
for the Hall," he added, as a car swept by them.
"Comfortable-looking gent, too," Mr. Lees remarked.
The "comfortable-looking gent" was Otto Seaman, who presented himself at the Hall
with a small dressing-bag and a great many apologies.
"Found myself in Norwich, Sir Everard," he explained. "I have done business there all
my life, and one of my customers needed looking after. I finished early, and when I found