“What of Rosario?” he demanded.
Arnold hesitated, but only for a moment. The truth, perhaps, was best.
“Rosario is dead,” he replied gravely. “He was stabbed to the heart and died within a few seconds.”
There was a queer silence. Arnold felt inclined to rub his eyes. Gone was at least part of the horror from their white faces. Fenella sank back in her chair with a little sob which might almost have been of relief. Starling, as though suddenly mindful of the conventions, assumed a grimly dolorous aspect.
“Poor fellow!” he muttered. “And the murderer?”
“He’s gotten clean off, for the present at any rate,” Arnold told them. “They seem to think that he reached the Strand and had a motor car waiting.”
Again there was silence. Then Mrs. Weatherley rose to her feet, glanced for a moment in the looking-glass, and turning round held out both her hands to Arnold.
“You have been so kind to me,” she said softly. “I shall not forget it—indeed I shall not. Mr. Starling is going to take me home in his car. Good-bye!”
Arnold held her hands steadfastly and looked into her eyes. They were more beautiful than ever now with their mist of risen tears. But there were other things in her face, things less easy to understand. He turned away regretfully.
“I am sorry that you should have had such a shock,” he said. “Is there any message for Mr. Weatherley?”
She exchanged a quick glance with her companion. Then for the first time Arnold realized the significance of the errand on which he had come.
“Some one must have warned Mr. Weatherley of what was likely to happen!” he exclaimed. “It was for that reason I was sent here!”
Again no one spoke for several seconds.
“It was not your fault,” she said gently. “You were told to wait inside the restaurant. You could not have done more.”
Arnold turned away with a little shiver. His mission had been to save a man’s life, and he had failed!
THE DUTIES OF A SECRETARY
It was twenty minutes to four before Arnold reached the office. Mr. Jarvis looked at him curiously as he took off his hat and hung it up.
“I don’t know what you’ve been up to, young man,” he remarked, “but you’ll find the governor in a queer state of mind. For the last hour he’s been ringing his bell every five minutes, asking for you.”
“I was detained,” Arnold answered shortly. “Is he alone now?”
Mr. Jarvis nodded.
“I think that you had better go in at once,” he advised. “There he is stamping about inside. I hope you’ve got some good excuse or there’ll be the dickens to pay.”
The door of the inner office was suddenly opened. Mr. Weatherley appeared upon the threshold. He recognized Arnold with an expression partly of anger, partly of relief.