“But why?” she asked. “What do you mean about your shoulders and your muscle?”
“It is all very mysterious,” he declared, “but do you know I believe Mr. Weatherley is afraid. He shook like a leaf when I told him of the murder of Rosario. I believe he thinks that there was some sort of blackmailing plot and he is afraid that something of the kind might happen to him. My instructions are never to leave his office, especially if he is visited by any strangers.”
“It sounds absurd,” she remarked. “I should have thought that of all the commonplace, unimaginative people you have ever described to me, Mr. Weatherley was supreme.”
“And I,” Arnold agreed. “And so, in a way, he is. It is his marriage which seems to have transformed him—I feel sure of that. He is mixing now with people whose manners and ways of thinking are entirely strange to him. He has had the world he knew of kicked from beneath his feet, and is hanging on instead to the fringe of another, of which he knows very little.”
Ruth was silent. All the time Arnold was conscious that she was watching him. He turned his head. Her mouth was once more set and strained, a delicate streak of scarlet upon the pallor of her face, but from the fierce questioning of her eyes there was no escape.
“What is it you want to know that I have not told you, Ruth?” he asked.
“Tell me what happened to you last night!”
He laughed boisterously, but with a flagrant note of insincerity.
“Haven’t I been telling you all the time?”
“You’ve kept something back,” she panted, gripping his fingers frantically, “the greatest thing. Speak about it. Anything is better than this silence. Don’t you remember your promise before you went—you would tell me everything—everything! Well?”
Her words pierced the armor of his own self-deceit. The bare room seemed suddenly full of glowing images of Fenella. His face was transfigured.
“I haven’t told you very much about Mrs. Weatherley,” he said, simply. “She is very wonderful and very beautiful. She was very kind to me, too.”
Ruth leaned forward in her chair; her eyes read what she strove yet hated to see. She threw herself suddenly back, covering her face with her hands. The strain was over. She began to weep.
AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR
Mr. Weatherley laid down his newspaper with a grunt. He was alone in his private office with his newly appointed secretary.
“Two whole days gone already and they’ve never caught that fellow!” he exclaimed. “They don’t seem to have a clue, even.”
Arnold looked up from some papers upon which he was engaged.
“We can’t be absolutely sure of that, sir,” he reminded his employer. “They wouldn’t give everything away to the Press.”
Mr. Weatherley threw the newspaper which he had been reading onto the floor, and struck the table with his fist.