He stopped short. Starling, with a smothered oath, had sprung to his feet. The eyes of every one were turned toward the wall; a small electric bell was ringing violently. For the next few moments, events marched swiftly. Starling, with incredible speed, had left the room by the inner door. A waiter had suddenly appeared as though by magic, and of the fourth place at table there seemed to be left no visible signs. All the time, Sabatini, unmoved, continued to roll his cigarette. Then there came a tapping at the door.
[Illustration: The eyes of
every one were turned toward the wall.
“See who is there,” Sabatini instructed the waiter.
Gustave, his napkin in his hand, threw open the door. A young man presented himself—a person of ordinary appearance, with a notebook sticking out of his pocket. His eyes seemed to take in at once the little party. He advanced a few steps into the room.
“You are perhaps not aware, sir,” Sabatini said gently, “that this is a private apartment.”
The young man bowed.
“I must apologize for my intrusion, sir and madame,” he declared, looking towards Fenella. “I am a reporter on the staff of the Daily Unit, and I am exceedingly anxious to interview—you will pardon me!”
With a sudden swift movement he crossed the room, passed into the inner apartment and disappeared. Sabatini rose to his feet.
“I propose,” he said, “that we complain to the proprietor of this excitable young journalist, and take our coffee in the palm court at the Carlton.”
Fenella also rose and stepped in front of the looking-glass.
“It is good,” she declared. “I stay with you for one half hour. Afterwards I have a bridge party. You will come with us, Mr. Chetwode?”
Arnold did not at once reply. He was gazing at the inner door. Every moment he expected to hear—what? It seemed to him that tragedy was there, the greatest tragedy of all—the hunting of man! Sabatini yawned.
“Those others,” he declared, “must settle their own little differences. After all, it is not our affair.”
JARVIS IS JUSTLY DISTURBED
It was fully half-past three before Arnold found himself back in Tooley Street. He hung up his coat and hat and was preparing to enter Mr. Weatherley’s room when the chief clerk saw him. Mr. Jarvis had been standing outside, superintending the unloading of several dray loads of American bacon. He laid his hand upon Arnold’s shoulder.
“One moment, Chetwode,” he said. “I want to speak to you out here.”
Arnold followed him to a retired part of the warehouse. Mr. Jarvis leaned against an old desk belonging to one of the porters.
“You are very late, Chetwode,” he remarked.
“I am sorry, but I was detained,” Arnold answered. “I will explain it to Mr. Weatherley directly I go in.”