“Be off!” he ordered. “When you look at me like that, you send shivers through me! You’ll have to go; I can see you’ll have to go. I can’t keep you any longer. You are the only person on the face of the earth who dares to say things to me which make me think, the only person who doesn’t shrink at the sound of my voice. You’ll have to go. Send Sarson to me at once. You’ve upset me!”
She listened to his words in expressionless silence. When he had finished, carrying her book in her hand, she very quietly moved towards the door. He watched her, leaning a little forward in his chair, his lips parted, his eyes threatening. She walked with steady, even footsteps. She carried herself with almost machine-like erectness; her skirts were noiseless. She had the trick of turning the handle of the door in perfect silence. He heard her calm voice in the hall.
“Doctor Sarson is to go to Mr. Fentolin.”
Mr. Fentolin sat quite still, feeling his own pulse.
“That woman,” he muttered to himself, “that—woman—some day I shouldn’t be surprised if she really—”
He paused. The doctor had entered the room.
“I am upset, Sarson,” he declared. “Come and feel my pulse quickly. That woman has upset me.”
“Miss Price, d-n it! Lucy—yes!”
“It seems unlike her,” the doctor remarked. “I have never heard her utter a useless syllable in my life.”
Mr. Fentolin held out his wrist.
“It’s what she doesn’t say,” he muttered.
The doctor produced his watch. In less than a minute he put it away.
“This is quite unnecessary,” he pronounced. “Your pulse is wonderful.”
“Not hurried? No signs of palpitation?”
“You have seven or eight footmen, all young men,” Doctor Sarson replied drily. “I will wager that there isn’t one of them has a pulse so vigorous as yours.”
Mr. Fentolin leaned a little back in his chair. An expression of satisfaction crept over his face.
“You reassure me, my dear Sarson. That is excellent. What of our patient?”
“There is no change.”
“I am afraid,” Mr. Fentolin sighed, “that we shall have trouble with him. These strong people always give trouble.”
“It will be just the same in the long run,” the doctor remarked, shrugging his shoulders.
Mr. Fentolin held up his finger.
“Listen! A motor-car, I believe?”
“It is Miss Fentolin who is just arriving,” the doctor announced. “I saw the car coming as I crossed the hall.”
Mr. Fentolin nodded gently.
“Indeed?” he replied. “Indeed? So my dear niece has returned. Open the door, friend Sarson. Open the door, if you please. She will be anxious to see me. We must summon her.”