The Malefactor HTML version
II.14. It Was An Accident
Lady Ruth took up the receiver. Some instinct seemed to have prompted her to close the
door of the study.
"Who is there?" she asked. "Who is it that wants me?"
A thin, unfamiliar voice answered her.
"Is that Lady Ruth Barrington?"
"Is it--Mademoiselle Violet?"
The receiver nearly dropped from her hand.
"I don't understand you," she answered, "I am Lady Ruth Barrington! Who are you?"
"You are Mademoiselle Violet," was the answer, "and you know who I am! Listen, I am
in Mr. Wingrave's rooms."
She would have liked to have rung off and gone away, but it seemed a sheer impossibility
for her to move! And all the time her knees were shaking, and the fear of evil things was
in her heart.
"What are you doing there?" she asked.
"He brought me in himself," the thin voice answered. "Can you hear me? I don't want to
speak any louder for fear anyone else should be listening."
"Yes, I can hear," she answered. "But how dared you ring me up? Say what you desire to
quickly! I am going away."
"Wait, please," the voice answered. "I know why you have been angry with me. I know
why you have kept away from me, why you have been so cruel! It was because I failed.
Was it not, dear Mademoiselle Violet?"
She had not the breath or the courage to answer him. In a moment or two he continued,
and there was a note of suppressed exultation in his tone.
"Listen! This time--I have not failed!"