Lucille obeyed. Lady Carey sat quite still with her hand pressed to her side. It was a stifling pain. She was sure that she had heard at last. “Sudden death of a visitor at the Carlton Hotel.” The place was beginning to go round.
Saxe Leinitzer returned. His face to her seemed positively ghastly. He carried an evening paper in his hand. She snatched it away from him. It was there before her in bold, black letters:
“Sudden death in the Carlton Hotel.”
Her eyes, dim a moment ago, suddenly blazed fire upon him.
“It shall be a life for a life,” she whispered. “If you have killed him you shall die.”
Lucille looked at them bewildered. And just then came a sharp tap at the box door. No one answered it, but the door was softly opened. Mr. Sabin stood upon the threshold.
“Pray, don’t let me disturb you,” he said. “I was unable to refrain from paying you a brief visit. Why, Prince, Lady Carey! I can assure you that I am no ghost.”
He glanced from one to the other with a delicate smile of mockery parting his thin lips. For upon the Prince’s forehead the perspiration stood out like beads, and he shrank away from Mr. Sabin as from some unholy thing. Lady Carey had fallen back across her chair. Her hand was still pressed to her side, and her face was very pale. A nervous little laugh broke from her lips.
Mr. Sabin found a fourth chair, and calmly seated himself by Lucille’s side. But his eyes were fixed upon Lady Carey. She was slowly recovering herself, but Mr. Sabin, who had never properly understood her attitude towards him, was puzzled at the air of intense relief which almost shone in her face.
“You seem—all of you,” he remarked suavely, “to have found the music a little exciting. Wagner certainly knew how to find his way to the emotions. Or perhaps I interrupted an interesting discussion?”
Lucille smiled gently upon him.
“These two,” she said, looking from the Prince to Lady Carey, “seem to have been afflicted with a sudden nervous excitement, and yet I do not think that they are, either of them, very susceptible to music.”
Lady Carey leaned forward, and looked at him from behind the large fan of white feathers which she was lazily fluttering before her face.
“Your entrance,” she murmured, “was most opportune, besides being very welcome. The Prince and I were literally—on the point of flying at one another’s throats.”
Mr. Sabin glanced at his neighbour and smiled.
“You are certainly a little out of sorts, Saxe Leinitzer,” he remarked. “You look pale, and your hands are not quite steady. Nerves, I suppose. You should see Dr. Carson in Brook Street.”
The Prince shrugged his shoulders.
“My health,” he said, “was never better. It is true that your coming was somewhat of a surprise,” he added, looking steadily at Mr. Sabin. “I understood that you had gone for a short journey, and I was not expecting to see you back again so soon.”