Mr. Weatherley barely thanked him—barely, indeed, seemed to realize Arnold’s presence. The latter turned to go. Fenella, however, intervened.
“Don’t go away, if you please, Mr. Chetwode,” she begged. “My husband is angry with me and I am a little frightened. And all because I have asked him to help a very good friend of mine who is in need of money to help forward a splendid cause.”
Arnold was embarrassed. He glanced doubtfully at Mr. Weatherley, who was fingering his cheque book.
“It is scarcely a matter for discussion—” his employer began, but Fenella threw out her hands.
“Oh! la, la!” she interrupted. “Don’t bore me so, my dear Samuel, or I will come to this miserable place no more. Mr. Starling must have this five hundred pounds because I have promised him, and because I have promised my brother that he shall have it. It is most important, and if all goes well it will come back to you some day or other. If not, you must make up your mind to lose it. Please write out the cheque, and afterwards Mr. Chetwode is to take me out to lunch. Andrea asked me especially to bring him, and if we do not go soon,” she added, consulting a little jeweled watch upon her wrist, “we shall be late. Andrea does not like to be kept waiting.”
“I was hoping,” Mr. Weatherley remarked, with an unwieldy attempt at jocularity, “that I might be asked out to luncheon myself.”
“Another day, my dear husband,” she promised carelessly. “You know that you and Andrea do not agree very well. You bore him so much and then he is irritable. I do not like Andrea when he is irritable. Give me my cheque, dear, and let me go.”
Mr. Weatherley dipped his pen in the ink, solemnly wrote out a cheque and tore it from the book. Fenella, who had risen to her feet and was standing over him with her hand upon his shoulder, stuffed it carelessly into the gold purse which she was carrying. Then she patted him on the cheek with her gloved hand.
“Don’t overwork,” she said, “and come home punctually. Are you quite ready, Mr. Chetwode?”
Arnold, who was finding the position more than ever embarrassing, turned to his employer.
“Can you spare me, sir?” he asked.
Mr. Weatherley nodded.
“If my wife desires you to go, certainly,” he replied. “But Fenella,” he added, “I am not very busy myself. Is it absolutely necessary that you lunch with your brother? Perhaps, even if it is, he can put up with my society for once.”
She threw a kiss to him from the door.
“Unreasonable person!” she exclaimed. “To-day it is absolutely necessary that I lunch with Andrea. You must go to your club if you are not busy, and play billiards or something. Come, Mr. Chetwode,” she added, turning towards the door, “we have barely a quarter of an hour to get to the Carlton. I dare not be late. The only person,” she went on, as they passed through the outer office and Arnold paused for a moment to take down his hat and coat, “whom I really fear in this world is Andrea.”