'That old American you met at Marvis Bay,' said Claire, her memory flitting back to the remark which she had interrupted; 'well, there's another case. You could easily have got him to do something for you.'

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'Claire, really!' said his goaded lordship, protestingly. 'How on earth? I only met the man on the links.'

'But you were very nice to him. You told me yourself that you spent hours helping him to get rid of his slice, whatever that is.'

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'We happened to be the only two down there at the time, so I was as civil as I could manage. If you're marooned at a Cornish seaside resort out of the season with a man, you can't spend your time dodging him. And this man had a slice that fascinated me. I felt at the time that it was my mission in life to cure him, so I had a dash at it. But I don't see how on the strength of that I could expect the old boy to adopt me. He probably forgot my existence after I had left.'

'You said you met him in London a month or two afterwards, and he hadn't forgotten you.'

'Well, yes, that's true. He was walking up the Haymarket and I was walking down. I caught his eye, and he nodded and passed on. I don't see how I could construe that into an invitation to go and sit on his lap and help myself out of his pockets.'

'You couldn't expect him to go out of his way to help you; but probably if you had gone to him he would have done something.'

'You haven't the pleasure of Mr Ira Nutcombe's acquaintance, Claire, or you wouldn't talk like that. He wasn't the sort of man you could get things out of. He didn't even tip the caddie. Besides, can't you see what I mean? I couldn't trade on a chance acquaintance of the golf links to--'

'That is just what I complain of in you. You're too diffident.'

'It isn't diffidence exactly. Talking of old Nutcombe, I was speaking to Gates again the other night. He was telling me about America. There's a lot of money to be made over there, you know, and the committee owes me a holiday. They would give me a few weeks off any time I liked.

'What do you say? Shall I pop over and have a look round? I might happen to drop into something. Gates was telling me about fellows he knew who had dropped into things in New York.'

'What's the good of putting yourself to all the trouble and expense of going to America? You can easily make all you want in London if you will only try. It isn't as if you had no chances. You have more chances than almost any man in town. With your title you could get all the directorships in the City that you wanted.'

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'Well, the fact is, this business of taking directorships has never quite appealed to me. I don't know anything about the game, and I should probably run up against some wildcat company. I can't say I like the directorship wheeze much. It's the idea of knowing that one's name would be being used as a bait. Every time I saw it on a prospectus I should feel like a trout fly.'

Claire bit her lip.

'It's so exasperating!' she broke out. 'When I first told my friends that I was engaged to Lord Dawlish they were tremendously impressed. They took it for granted that you must have lots of money. Now I have to keep explaining to them that the reason we don't get married is that we can't afford to. I'm almost as badly off as poor Polly Davis who was in the Heavenly Waltz Company with me when she married that man, Lord Wetherby. A man with a title has no right not to have money. It makes the whole thing farcical.

'If I were in your place I should have tried a hundred things by now, but you always have some silly objection. Why couldn't you, for instance, have taken on the agency of that what-d'you-call-it car?'