The Irishman came quickly into the room. He glanced once toward the bed where Ste. Marie sat eating his breakfast with apparent unconcern—there may have been a little bravado in this—and then bent over the thing which lay moving feebly beside a chair. When he rose again his face was hard and tense and his blue eyes glittered in a fashion that boded trouble for somebody.
“This looks very bad for us,” he said, gruffly. “I should—I should like to have you believe that neither my daughter nor I had any part in it. When I fight I fight openly, I don’t use poison. Not even with spies.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” said Ste. Marie, taking an ostentatious sip of coffee. “That’s understood. I know well enough who tried to poison me. If you’ll just keep your friend Stewart out of the kitchen I sha’n’t worry about my food.”
The Irishman’s cheeks reddened with a quick flush and he dropped his eyes. But in an instant he raised them again and looked full into the eyes of the man who sat in bed.
“You seem,” said he, “to be laboring under a curious misapprehension. There is no Stewart here, and I don’t know any man of that name.”
Ste. Marie laughed.
“Oh, don’t you?” he said. “That’s my mistake then. Well, if you don’t know him, you ought to. You have interests in common.”
O’Hara favored his patient with a long and frowning stare. But at the end he turned without a word and went out of the room.
* * * * *
THOSE WHO WERE LEFT BEHIND
That meeting with Richard Hartley of which Captain Stewart, in the small drawing-room at La Lierre, spoke to the Irishman O’Hara, took place at Stewart’s own door in the rue du Faubourg St. Honore, and it must have been at just about the time when Ste. Marie, concealed among the branches of his cedar, looked over the wall and saw Arthur Benham walking with Mlle. Coira O’Hara. Hartley had lunched at Durand’s with his friends, whose name—though it does not at all matter here—was Reeves-Davis, and after lunch the four of them, Major and Lady Reeves-Davis, Reeves-Davis’ sister, Mrs. Carsten, and Hartley, spent an hour at a certain picture-dealer’s near the Madeleine. After that Lady Reeves-Davis wanted to go in search of an antiquary’s shop which was somewhere in the rue du Faubourg, and she did not know just where. They went in from the rue Royale, and amused themselves by looking at the attractive windows on the way.