He stood up eagerly.
“You are sure that you will be all right?”
“Of course,” she replied. “Indeed, I shall be better when I know what really has happened. You must go quickly, please, and come back quickly. Stop!”
Arnold, who had already started, turned back again. They were in a ladies’ small reception room at the head of the stairs leading down into the restaurant, quite alone, for every one had streamed across the courtyard to see what the disturbance was. The side of the room adjoining the stairs and the broad passage leading to the restaurant was entirely of glass. A man, on his way up the stairs, had paused and was looking intently at them.
“Tell me, who is that?” demanded Fenella.
Arnold recognized him at once.
“It is your friend Starling—the man from South America.”
“Starling!” she murmured.
“I think that he is coming in,” Arnold continued. “He has seen you. Do you mind?”
She shook her head.
“No. He will stay with me while you are away. Perhaps he knows something.”
Arnold hurried off and met Starling upon the threshold of the room.
“Isn’t that Mrs. Weatherley with you?” the latter inquired.
“Yes,” Arnold told him. “She was lunching with me in the Grill Room. I believe that she was really waiting for Rosario—when the affair happened.”
Arnold stared at him. It seemed impossible that there was any one ignorant of the tragedy.
“Haven’t you heard?” Arnold exclaimed. “Rosario was stabbed outside the Grill Room a few moments ago.”
Starling’s pallid complexion seemed suddenly to become ghastly.
“Rosario—Rosario stabbed?” he faltered.
“I thought that every one in the place must have heard of it,” Arnold continued. “He was stabbed just as he was entering the cafe, not more than ten minutes ago.”
Starling’s words came with the swift crispness of a pistol shot. Arnold shook his head.
“I didn’t see. I am just going to ask for particulars. Will you stay with Mrs. Weatherley?”
Starling looked searchingly along the vestibule. The news seemed to have affected him strangely. His head was thrown a little back, his nostrils distended. He reminded Arnold for a moment of a watch-dog, listening.
“Of course,” he muttered, “of course. Come back as soon as you can and let us know what has happened.”
Arnold made his way through the reception hall and across the courtyard. Already the crowd of people was melting away. A policeman stood on guard at the opposite door, and two more at the entrance of the cafe. The whole of the vestibule where the affair had happened was closed, and the only information which it was possible to collect Arnold gathered from the excited conversations of the little knots of people standing around. In a few minutes he returned to the small reception room. Fenella and Starling looked eagerly up as he entered. They both showed signs of an intense emotion. Starling was even gripping the back of a chair as he spoke.