‘Naturally, none of my keys would fit the things, but I told an intelligent page boy that I had lost my key- ring, and he had the locks forced in a twinkling. Rather too intelligent, that boy; he will probably end in Dartmoor. The Kestrel-Smith toilet tools aren’t up to much, but they are better than nothing.’

‘If you feel sure that you have a title,’ said Jerton. ‘why not get hold of a peerage and go right through it?’

‘I tried that. I skimmed through the list of the House of Lords in “Whitaker,” but a mere printed string of names conveys awfully little to one, you know. If you were an army officer and had lost your identity you might pore over the Army List for months with out finding out who you were. I’m going on another tack; I’m trying to find out by various little tests who I am not—that will narrow the range of uncertainty down a bit. You may have noticed, for instance, that I’m lunching principally off lobster Newburg.’

Jerton had not ventured to notice anything of the sort.

‘It’s an extravagance, because it’s one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, but at any rate it proves that I’m not Lady Starping; she never touches shell-fish, and poor Lady Braddleshrub has no digestion at all; if I am her I shall certainly die in agony in the course of the afternoon, and the duty of finding out who I am will devolve on the press and the police and those sort of people; I shall be past caring. Lady Knewford doesn’t know one rose from another and she hates men, so she wouldn’t have spoken to you in any case; and Lady Mousehilton flirts with every man she meets—I haven’t flirted with you, have I?’

Jerton hastily gave the required assurance.

‘Well, you see,’ continued the lady, ‘that knocks four off the list at once.’

‘It’ll be rather a lengthy process bringing the list down to one,’ said Jerton.

‘Oh, but, of course, there are heaps of them that I couldn’t possibly be—women who’ve got grandchildren or sons old enough to have celebrated their coming of age. I’ve only got to consider the ones about my own age. I tell you how you might help me this afternoon, if you don’t mind; go through any of the back numbers of Country Life and those sort of papers that you can find in the smoking-room, and see if you come across my portrait with infant son or anything of that sort. It won’t take you ten minutes. I’ll meet you in the lounge about tea-time. Thanks awfully.’

And the Fair Unknown, having graciously pressed Jerton into the search for her lost identity, rose and left the room. As she passed the young man’s table she halted for a moment and whispered:

‘Did you notice that I tipped the waiter a shilling? We can cross Lady Ulwight off the list; she would have died rather than do that.’

At five o’clock Jerton made his way to the hotel lounge; he had spent a diligent but fruitless quarter of an hour among the illustrated weeklies in the smoking-room. His new acquaintance was seated at a small tea-table, with a waiter hovering in attendance.

‘China tea or Indian?’ she asked as Jerton came up.

‘China, please, and nothing to eat. Have you discovered any thing?’

‘Only negative information. I’m not Lady Befnal. She disapproves dreadfully at any form of gambling, so when I recognised a well-known book-maker in the hotel lobby I went and put a tenner on an unnamed filly by William the Third out of Mitrovitza for the three-fifteen race. I suppose the fact of the animal being nameless was what attracted me.’

‘Did it win?’ asked Jerton.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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