He recalled Paredes’s suspicion of the girl.
“It’s nonsense, Katherine. And I’m to blame for that, too.”
She put her finger to her lips. Her smile was wistful.
“Hush! You mustn’t blame yourself. You mustn’t think of that.”
Again her solicitude, their isolation in a darkened place, tempted him, aroused impulses nearly irresistible. Her slender figure, the pretty face, grown familiar and more desirable through all these years, swept him to a harsher revolt than he had conquered in the library. In the face of Graham, in spite of his own intolerable position he knew he couldn’t fight that truth eternally. She must have noticed his struggle without grasping its cause, for she touched his hand, and the wistfulness of her expression increased.
“I wish you wouldn’t think of me, Bobby. It’s you we must all think of.”
He accepted with a cold dismay the sisterly anxiety of her attitude. It made his renunciation easier. He walked away.
“Why do you go?” she called after him.
He gestured vaguely, without turning.
He didn’t see her again until dinner time. She was as silent then as she had been the night before when Howells had sat with them, his moroseness veiling a sharp interest in the plan that was to lead to his death. Robinson’s mood was very different. He talked a great deal, making no effort to hide his irritation. His failure to find any clue in the private staircase after Paredes’s arrest had clearly stimulated his interest in Bobby. The sharp little eyes, surrounded by puffy flesh, held a threat for him. Bobby was glad when the meal ended.
Howells’s body was taken away that night. It was a relief for all of them to know that the old room was empty again.
“I daresay you won’t sleep there,” Graham said to Robinson.
Robinson glanced at Bobby.
“Not as things stand,” he answered. “The library lounge is plenty good enough for me tonight.”
Graham went upstairs with Bobby. There was no question about his purpose. He wouldn’t repeat last night’s mistake.
“At least,” he said, when the door was closed behind them, “I can see if you do get up and wander about in your sleep. I’d bet a good deal that you won’t.”
“If I did it would be an indication?”
“Granted it’s your custom, what is there to tempt you to-night?”
Bobby answered, half jesting:
“You’ve not forgotten Robinson on the library sofa. The man isn’t exactly working for me. Tonight he seems almost as unfriendly as Howells was.”
“I ought to sleep now if ever. I’ve seldom been so tired. Two such nights!”
“But I am glad you’re here, Hartley. I can go to sleep with a more comfortable feeling.”
“Don’t worry,” Graham said. “You’ll sleep quietly enough, and we’ll all be better for a good rest.”