Philip made no reply, yet even his silence might well have been the silence of indifference.
“At the last moment,” the detective concluded, “it flashed in upon me that there might be some ridiculous explanation of the few little points about your case which, I must confess, have puzzled me. For that reason, I decided to seek an interview with you before I left. You have, however, I gather, nothing to say to me?”
“Nothing at all, Mr. Dane, except to wish you a pleasant voyage,” Philip declared. “I won’t detain you a moment longer. I hear my guests in the corridor. Good night, sir!” he added, opening the door. “I appreciate your call very much. Come and see me again when you return from England.”
Mr. Dane lingered for a moment upon the threshold, hat in hand, a somewhat ominous figure. There was no attempt at a handshake between the two men. The detective was imperturbable. Philip, listening to Elizabeth’s voice, had shown his first sign of impatience.
“I shall surely do that, Mr. Ware!” the other promised, as he passed out.
The door closed. Philip stood for a moment in the empty room, listening to the man’s retreating footsteps. Then he turned slowly around. His cheeks were blanched, his eyes were glazed with reminiscent horror. He looked through the wall of the room—a long way back.
“We shall find Mr. Ware in here, I expect.” He could hear the voices of his approaching guests.
He ground his heel into the carpet and swung around. He anticipated Louis, threw open the curtain, and stood there waiting to welcome his guests, a smile upon his lips, his hands outstretched towards Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s face was glowing with joy. For the first time Philip realised that she, too, had had her anxieties.
“You dear, dear man!” she exclaimed. “To think what you have missed! It would have been the evening of your life. It’s a success, do you hear?—a great success! It was wonderful!”
He seemed, almost to himself, to be playing a part, he was so calm yet so gracefully happy.
“I am glad for both our sakes,” he said.
She indicated the others with a little wave of the hand.
“I don’t think you know a soul, do you?” she asked. “They none of them quite believe in your existence down at the theatre. This is my leading man, Noel Bridges. You should have seen how splendid he was as Carriston.”
Mr. Noel Bridges, with a deprecating smile towards Elizabeth, held out his hand. He was tall and of rather a rugged type for the New York stage. Like the rest of the little party, his eyes were full of curiosity as he shook hands with Philip.
“So you are something human, after all,” he remarked. “We began to think you lived underground and only put your head up every now and then for a little air. I am glad to meet you, Mr. Ware. I enjoy acting in your play very much indeed, and I hope it’s only the first of many.”