She stood transfixed. For a moment surprise was her only emotion. How came Bill to be in America? Then other feelings blended with her surprise. It is a fact that Lord Dawlish was looking singularly uncomfortable.

Claire's eyes travelled from Bill to his partner and took in with one swift feminine glance her large, exuberant blondeness. There is no denying that, seen with a somewhat biased eye, the Good Sport resembled rather closely a poster advertising a revue.

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Claire returned to her seat. Lord and Lady Wetherby continued to talk, but she allowed them to conduct the conversation without her assistance.

'You're very quiet, Claire,' said Polly.

'I'm thinking.'

'A very good thing, too, so they tell me. I've never tried it myself. Algie, darling, he was a bad boy to leave his nice home, wasn't he? He didn't deserve to have his hand held.'

It had been a great night for Nutty Boyd. If the vision of his sister Elizabeth, at home at the farm speculating sadly on the whereabouts of her wandering boy, ever came before his mental eye he certainly did not allow it to interfere with his appreciation of the festivities. At Frolics in the Air, whither they moved after draining Reigelheimer's of what joys it had to offer, and at Peale's, where they went after wearying of Frolics in the Air, he was in the highest spirits. It was only occasionally that the recollection came to vex him that this could not last, that--since his Uncle Ira had played him false--he must return anon to the place whence he had come.

Why, in a city of all-night restaurants, these parties ever break up one cannot say, but a merciful Providence sees to it that they do, and just as Lord Dawlish was contemplating an eternity of the company of Nutty and his two companions, the end came. Miss Leonard said that she was tired. Her friend said that it was a shame to go home at dusk like this, but, if the party was going to be broken up, she supposed there was nothing else for it. Bill was too sleepy to say anything.

The Good Sport lived round the corner, and only required Lord Dawlish's escort for a couple of hundred yards. But Miss Leonard's hotel was in the neighbourhood of Washington Square, and it was Nutty's pleasing task to drive her thither. Engaged thus, he received a shock that electrified him.

'That pal of yours,' said Miss Leonard, drowsily--she was half-asleep--'what did you say his name was?'

'Chalmers, he told me. I only met him to-night.'

'Well, it isn't; it's something else. It'--Miss Leonard yawned--'it's Lord something.'

'How do you mean, "Lord something"?'

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'He's a lord--at least, he was when I met him in London.'