The doctor arrived. His examination was over in a few moments.
“Nothing serious,” he declared. “The knife was pretty blunt fortunately. How did it happen? It seems like a case for the police.”
“It was an accident,” Wingrave declared coolly.
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. He was busy
making bandages. Lady
Ruth rose to her feet. She was white and giddy. The commissionaire and
Morrison were talking together at the door. The latter turned to Lady
“Do you think that we had better send for the police, your ladyship?” he asked. “It was the young man who came in with Mr. Wingrave who must have done this! I thought he was a very wild-looking sort of person.”
“You heard what Mr. Wingrave said,” she answered. “I don’t think that I should disobey him, if I were you. The doctor says that, after all, it is not very serious.”
“He can’t have got far,” the hall porter remarked. “He only slipped out as we came in.”
“I should let him go for the present,” Lady Ruth said. “If Mr. Wingrave wishes to prosecute afterwards, it will be easy for him to do so.”
She stepped back to where Wingrave lay. He was in a recumbent position now and, although a little pale, he was obviously not seriously hurt.
“If there is nothing else that I can do,” she said, “I will go now!”
“By all means,” Wingrave answered. “I am exceedingly obliged to you for your kindness,” he added a little stiffly. “Morrison, show Lady Barrington to her carriage!”
She spoke a few conventional words of farewell and departed. Outside on the pavement she stood for a moment, looking carefully around. There was no sign of Richardson anywhere! She stepped into the carriage and leaned back in the corner.
Wingrave disappeared suddenly from London. Aynesworth alone knew where he was gone, and he was pledged to secrecy. Two people received letters from him. Lady Ruth was one of them.
“This,” she remarked quietly, handing it over to her husband, “may interest you.”
He adjusted his eye glasses and read it aloud:—
“Dear Lady Ruth,—I am leaving London today for several weeks. With the usual inconsistency of the person to whom life is by no means a valuable asset, I am obeying the orders of my physician. I regret, therefore, that I cannot have the pleasure of entertaining your husband and yourself during Cowes week. The yacht, however, is entirely at your disposal, and I have written Captain Masterton to that effect. Pray extend your cruise, if you feel inclined to.—I remain, yours sincerely, W.”
Mr. Barrington looked at his wife inquiringly.
“That seems to me entirely satisfactory, Ruth,” he said. “I think that he might have added a word or two of acknowledgment for what you did for him. There is no doubt that, but for your promptness, things might have gone much worse.”