“I shall be honored,” he assured her, gravely. “In the meantime, please tell me—are we to speak of this to Rosario?”
“Leave it to me,” she begged. “I cannot explain to you what all this means, but I think that Mr. Rosario can take care of himself. We must go back now to the bridge-room. My husband is annoyed with me for coming away again.”
Mr. Weatherley met them in the passage. He was distinctly irritable.
“My dear Fenella!” he exclaimed. “Your guests do not understand your absence. Mr. Rosario is most annoyed and I cannot imagine what is the matter with Starling. I am afraid that he and Rosario have had words.”
She turned her head as she passed, and smiled very slightly.
“I have no concern,” she said, “in the quarrel between Mr. Starling and Mr. Rosario. As for the others—Mr. Chetwode and I are quite ready for bridge now. We are going in to do our duty.”
AN UNUSUAL ERRAND
Arnold arrived at the office the next morning punctually at five minutes to nine, and was already at work when Mr. Jarvis appeared ten minutes later.
“Gayety’s not upset you, then, eh?” the latter remarked, divesting himself of his hat and overcoat.
“Not at all, thanks,” Arnold answered.
“Nice house, the governor’s, isn’t it?”
“Very nice indeed.”
“Good dinners he gives, too,” continued Mr. Jarvis. “Slap-up wines, and the right sort of company. Must have been an eye-opener for you.”
Arnold nodded. He was not in the least anxious to discuss the events of the previous evening with Mr. Jarvis. The latter, however, came a little nearer to him. He took off his gold-rimmed spectacles and wiped them carefully.
“Now I should like to know,” he said, “exactly how Mrs. Weatherley struck you?”
“She appeared to me to be a singularly charming and very beautiful lady,” Arnold replied, writing quickly.
Mr. Jarvis was disappointed.
“She’s good-looking enough,” he admitted. “I can’t say that I’ve seen much of her, mind you, but she gave me the impression of a woman who wasn’t above using the powder-puff. She drove down here with the governor one day, and to look at her you’d have thought she was a princess come among the slums.”
“She was born abroad,” Arnold remarked. “I dare say this atmosphere would seem a little strange to her.”
“Sort of half a foreigner, I’ve understood,” Mr. Jarvis continued. “Speaks English all right, though. I can’t help thinking,” he went on, “that the governor would have done better to have married into one of our old city families. Nothing like them, you know, Chetwode. Some fine women, too. There’s Godson, the former Lord Mayor. He had four daughters, and the governor might have had his pick.”
“Here he comes,” Arnold remarked, quietly.