“I wish Fenella would come,” Mr. Weatherley wandered on. “I don’t seem to be able to get on with my work this morning, since you told me she was coming down. Queer thing, although I was with her last evening, you know, Chetwode, I feel, somehow, as though I’d been away from her for weeks and weeks. I can’t remember exactly how long—there’s such a buzzing in my head when I try. What do you do when you have a buzzing in your head, Chetwode?”
“I generally try and rest in an easy-chair,” Arnold replied.
“I’ll try that, too,” Mr. Weatherley decided, rising to his feet. “It’s a—most extraordinary thing, Chetwode, but my knees are shaking. Hold me up—catch hold of me, quick!”
Arnold half carried him to the easy-chair. The horn of the automobile sounded outside.
“Mrs. Weatherley is here, sir,” Arnold whispered.
Mr. Weatherley opened his eyes.
“Good!” he murmured. “Let me sit up.”
There was a moment’s pause. Arnold moved to the door and held it open. They heard the swish of her skirts as she came through the outer office, and the heavier footsteps of the doctor who followed. Mr. Weatherley tried vainly to rise to his feet. He held out his arms. Fenella hastened towards him.
“Fenella, I couldn’t help it,” her husband gasped. “I had to kill him—he told me he was waiting there for you. My hands are quite clean now. Chetwode told me that he got up and walked away, but that’s all nonsense. I struck him right over the skull.”
She fell on her knees by his side.
“You dear, brave man,” she murmured. “I believe you saved my life.”
He smiled. His face was suddenly childlike. He was filled with an infinite content.
“I think,” he said, “that I should like—to go home now—if this other gentleman and Chetwode will kindly help me out. You see, I haven’t been here since May 4, and to-day is July 2. I think I must have overslept myself. And that idiot Jarvis was opening the letters when I arrived! Yes, I’m quite ready.”
They helped him out to the carriage. He stepped in and took his usual place without speaking again. The car drove off, Fenella holding his hand, the doctor sitting opposite.
There was nothing about their attitude or appearance which indicated the change. Their chairs were so close together that they almost touched. Her white, ringless hand lay in his. Through the wide-open window of their tiny sitting-room they looked down upon the river as they had sat and watched it so many evenings before. Yet the change was unmistakable. Arnold no longer guessed at it—he felt it. The old days of their pleasant comradeship had gone. There were reserves in everything she said. Sometimes she shrank from him almost as though he were a stranger. The eyes that grew bright and still danced with pleasure at his coming, were almost, a moment later, filled with apprehension as she watched him.