“I trust,” Arnold ventured, as he turned toward the door, “that Mrs. Weatherley is quite well this morning?”
“So far as I know, she is,” Mr. Weatherley replied. “My wife isn’t usually visible before luncheon time. Continental habits, you know. I shall expect you back by three o’clock. You must come and report to me then.”
Arnold brushed his hat and coat with extra care as he took them down from the peg.
“Going to lunch early, aren’t you?” Mr. Jarvis remarked, looking at the clock. “Not sure that we can spare you yet. Smithers isn’t back.”
“I am going out for the governor,” Arnold replied.
“What, to the bank?” Mr. Jarvis asked.
Arnold affected not to hear. He walked out into the street, lit a cigarette, and had his boots carefully polished at London Bridge Station. Then, as he had plenty of time, he took the train to Charing Cross and walked blithely down the Strand. Freed from the routine of his office work, he found his mind once more full of the events of last night. There was so much that he could not understand, yet there was so much that seemed to be leading him on towards the land of adventures. He found himself watching the faces in the Strand with a new interest, and he laughed to himself as he realized what it was. He was looking all the time for the man whose face he had seen pressed to the window-pane!
THE GLEAM OF STEEL
At the Milan, Arnold found himself early for luncheon. He chose a table quite close to the entrance, ordered his luncheon with some care, and commenced his watch. A thin stream of people was all the time arriving, but for the first half-hour there was no one whom he could associate in any way with his commission. It was not until he had actually commenced his lunch that anything happened. Then, through the half-open door, he heard what he recognized instantly as a familiar voice. The manager of the restaurant hurried toward the entrance and he heard the question repeated.
“Is Mr. Rosario here?”
“We have a table for him, madame, but he has not yet arrived,” the maitre d’hotel replied. “If madame will allow me to show her the way!”
Arnold rose to his feet with a little start. Notwithstanding her fashionable outdoor clothes and thick veil, he recognized Mrs. Weatherley at once as she swept into the room, following the maitre d’hotel. She came up to him with slightly upraised eyebrows. It was clear that his presence there was a surprise to her.
“I scarcely expected to see you again so soon,” she remarked, giving him her fingers. “Are you lunching alone?”
“Quite alone,” Arnold answered.
She glanced half carelessly around, as though to see whether she recognized any acquaintances. Arnold, however, was convinced that she was simply anxious not to be overheard.