It had come at last. Bruce braced himself for the ordeal. Just for the moment there was a terrible temptation to hold his tongue. The story of his visit to the corner house was known to those only who would not dare to speak. Once he told the truth he realized that he was putting a noose around his neck.
"I have a good excuse," he said, "in fact, the very best. As I told you some months ago, I have known Miss Lawrence for years. We have always understood one another, but because I was in no position to marry nothing has been said. Won't you be the first to congratulate me on my engagement?"
"Covered all over with orange blotches, eh?" asked Prout.
She had purchased No. 1, Lytton Avenue, just as it stood from an American millionaire who had suddenly tired of Society. Paragraphs in the cheap Society papers stated with awe that the sale had been settled in five minutes, so that on the spot this wonderful Countess Lalage had signed a cheque for more than two hundred thousand pounds.