The Arrow of Gold HTML version
Through the great arched window of the hall I saw the hotel brougham waiting at the
door. On passing the door of the front room (it was originally meant for a drawing-room
but a bed for Blunt was put in there) I banged with my fist on the panel and shouted: "I
am obliged to go out. Your mother's carriage is at the door." I didn't think he was asleep.
My view now was that he was aware beforehand of the subject of the conversation, and if
so I did not wish to appear as if I had slunk away from him after the interview. But I
didn't stop - I didn't want to see him - and before he could answer I was already half way
up the stairs running noiselessly up the thick carpet which also covered the floor of the
landing. Therefore opening the door of my sitting-room quickly I caught by surprise the
person who was in there watching the street half concealed by the window curtain. It was
a woman. A totally unexpected woman. A perfect stranger. She came away quickly to
meet me. Her face was veiled and she was dressed in a dark walking costume and a very
simple form of hat. She murmured: "I had an idea that Monsieur was in the house,"
raising a gloved hand to lift her veil. It was Rose and she gave me a shock. I had never
seen her before but with her little black silk apron and a white cap with ribbons on her
head. This outdoor dress was like a disguise. I asked anxiously:
"What has happened to Madame?"
"Nothing. I have a letter," she murmured, and I saw it appear between the fingers of her
extended hand, in a very white envelope which I tore open impatiently. It consisted of a
few lines only. It began abruptly:
"If you are gone to sea then I can't forgive you for not sending the usual word at the last
moment. If you are not gone why don't you come? Why did you leave me yesterday? You
leave me crying - I who haven't cried for years and years, and you haven't the sense to
come back within the hour, within twenty hours! This conduct is idiotic" - and a
sprawling signature of the four magic letters at the bottom.
While I was putting the letter in my pocket the girl said in an earnest undertone: "I don't
like to leave Madame by herself for any length of time."
"How long have you been in my room?" I asked.
"The time seemed long. I hope Monsieur won't mind the liberty. I sat for a little in the
hall but then it struck me I might be seen. In fact, Madame told me not to be seen if I
could help it."
"Why did she tell you that?"
"I permitted myself to suggest that to Madame. It might have given a false impression.
Madame is frank and open like the day but it won't do with everybody. There are people