I shook my head.
“No, thanks!” I answered. “I am afraid there is nothing more to be learned.”
The porter went back to his duties, and I bade the clerk good night. Up in my room Fritz was waiting anxiously.
“You were right and wrong,” I announced. “Mr. Delora has been staying here and left to-night.”
“He has gone!” Fritz exclaimed.
“He left at eleven o’clock,” I answered. “He saw me, and I suppose he knew that I was looking for him. Here’s half your money, anyhow,” I continued, giving him a five-pound note. “The next thing to do is to find out where he has gone to. I think you could help here, Fritz.”
“What must I do?” the man asked.
“First of all,” I said, “go to the big railway hotels and try and find out from one of the porters—you Germans all stick together—whether any one arrived in a four-wheel cab at between eleven and twelve this evening, whose description coincides with that of Mr. Delora. I reckon that will take you most of to-morrow. When you have finished come to me at the Milan Court, and let me know how you have got on.”
“So!” the man remarked, rising from his seat. “To-morrow morning I will do that. They will tell me, these fellows. I know many of them.”
“Good night, Fritz, then!” I said. “Good luck!”
Early on the following morning I moved back to my rooms in the Milan Court. Curiously enough I entered the building with a sense of depression for which I could not account. I went first to my own rooms and glanced at my letters. There was nothing there of importance. In other words, there was nothing from Felicia. I descended to the fifth floor and knocked at the door of her room. As I stood there waiting I was absolutely certain that somehow or other a change had occurred in the situation, that the freeness of my intercourse with Felicia was about to be interfered with. I was not in the least surprised when the door was at last cautiously opened, and a woman who was a perfect stranger to me stood on the threshold, with the handle of the door still in her hand.
“I should like to see Miss Delora,” I said. “My name is Captain Rotherby.”
The woman shook her head. She was apparently French, and of the middle-class. She was dressed in black, her eyes and eyebrows were black, she had even the shadow of a moustache upon her upper lip. To me her appearance was singularly forbidding.
“Miss Delora cannot see you,” she answered, with a strong foreign accent.
“Will you be so good as to inquire if that is so?” I answered. “I have an appointment with Miss Delora for this morning, and a motor-car waiting to take her out.”
“Miss Delora cannot receive you,” answered the woman, almost as though she had not heard, and closed the door in my face.