she did not come. He went over to the key board and examined the names. Number twelve, on the first floor! And he determined to take the note up himself. He mounted red-carpeted stairs, past a little salon; eight--ten--twelve! Should he knock, push the note under, or-----? He looked furtively round and turned the handle. The door opened, but into a little space leading to another door; he knocked on that--no answer. The door was locked. It fitted very closely to the floor; the note would not go under. He thrust it back into his pocket, and stood a moment listening. He felt somehow certain that she was not there. And suddenly he came away, passing the little salon down the stairs. He stopped at the bureau and said:
'Will you kindly see that Mrs Heron has this note?'
'Madame Heron left to-day, Monsieur--suddenly, about three o'clock. There was illness in her family.'
Soames compressed his lips. 'Oh!' he said; 'do you know her address?'
'Non, Monsieur. England, I think.'
Soames put the note back into his pocket and went out. He hailed an open horse-cab which was passing.
'Drive me anywhere!'
The man, who, obviously, did not understand, smiled, and waved his whip. And Soames was borne along in that little yellow-wheeled victoria all over star-shaped Paris, with here and there a pause, and the question, 'C'est par ici, Monsieur?'*'No, go on,' till the man gave it up in despair, and the yellow-wheeled chariot continued to roll between the tall, flat-fronted shuttered houses and plane-tree avenues--a little Flying Dutchman* of a cab.
'Like my life,' thought Soames, 'without object, on and on!'
IN THE WEB
SOAMES returned to England the following day, and on the third morning received a visit from Mr Polteed, who wore a flower and carried a brown billycock hat.* Soames motioned him to a seat.