“Come back! Take me away somewhere quickly! This is no affair of ours. I want to think. Take me away, please. I can’t look at him.”
“Did you see the man’s hand?” Arnold gasped.
“What of it?”
“It was the hand I saw upon your window-sill last night. It was the same ring—a scarlet signet ring. I could swear to it.”
She gave a little moan and her whole weight lay upon his arm. In the rush of people and the clamor of voices around, they were almost unobserved. He passed his arm around her, and even in that moment of wild excitement he was conscious of a nameless joy which seemed to set his heart leaping. He led her back through the restaurant and into one of the smaller rooms of the hotel. He found her an easy-chair and stood over her.
“You won’t leave me?” she begged.
He held her hand tightly.
“Not until you send me away!”
“Rosario is dead!”
Fenella never became absolutely unconscious. She was for some time in a state apparently of intense nervous prostration. Her breath was coming quickly, her eyes and her fingers seemed to be clinging to his as though for support. Her touch, her intimate presence, her reliance upon him, seemed to Arnold to infect the very atmosphere of the place with a thrill of the strangest excitement.
“You think that he is dead?” she faltered once.
“Of course not,” he replied reassuringly. “I saw no weapon at all. It was just a quarrel.”
She half closed her eyes.
“There was blood upon his waistcoat,” she declared, “and I saw something flash through the window.”
“I will go and see, if you like,” Arnold suggested.
Her fingers gripped his.
“Not yet! Don’t leave me yet! Why did you say that you recognized the hand—that it was the same hand you saw upon the window-sill last night?”
“Because of the signet ring,” Arnold answered promptly. “It was a crude-looking affair, but the stone was bright scarlet. It was impossible to mistake it.”
“It was only the ring, then?”
“Only the ring, of course,” he admitted. “I did not see the hand close enough. It was foolish of me, perhaps, to say anything about it, and yet—and yet the man last night—he was looking for Rosario. Why should it not be the same?”
He heard the breath come through her teeth in a little sob.
“Don’t say anything at present to any one else. Indeed, there are others who might have worn such a ring.”
Arnold hesitated, but only for a second. He chanced to look into her face, and her whisper became his command.
“Very well,” he promised.
A few moments later she sat up. She was evidently becoming stronger.
“Now go,” she begged, “and see—how he is. Find out exactly what has happened and come back. I shall wait for you here.”