I will repeat: Did you, or did you not, at about twelve o'clock last night, shoot, with intent to murder, Colonel Juan Menendez?" Ysola Camber leapt up, clutching at her husband's arm as if to hold him back. "I did not," he replied, quietly. "Nevertheless," continued the Inspector, looking aggressively at Paul Harley whilst he spoke, "I am going to detain you pending further enquiries."
The poor sufferer must wait and wait, always wait, for that sudden pang, not knowing if it will come in his heart and be the finish. Yes. This living death, then, and revenge, were the things ruling Juan's life at the time of which I tell you. He had traced Ysola de Valera to England.
She turned to me. "You, my friend," she whispered, and reaching over she laid her jewelled hand upon my arm, "you have spoken with Ysola de Valera this afternoon, they tell me?" "With Mrs. Camber?" I asked, startled. "Yes, that is true." "Ah, Mrs. Camber," murmured Madame. "I knew her as Ysola de Valera. She is beautiful, in her golden doll way. You think so?"
I think Ah Tsong had warned her of the nature of the ordeal which she was to expect, but her wide-eyed timidity was nevertheless pathetic to witness. She glanced at me with a ghost of a smile, and: "Ysola," said Colin Camber, inclining his head toward me in a grave gesture of courtesy, "Mr. Knox has generously forgiven me a breach of good manners for which I shall never forgive myself.
But I have lived, and I have loved, and I am content. I went with him to Cuba, and from Cuba to another island where he had estates, and the name of which I shall not pronounce, because it hurts me so, even yet. There he set eyes upon Ysola de Valera, the daughter of his manager, and, pouf!" She shrugged and snapped her fingers. "He was like that, you understand? I knew it well.
A chance remark in a London hotel had told him that a Chinaman had been seen in a Surrey village and of course had caused much silly chatter. He enquired at once, and he found out that Colin Camber, the man who had taken Ysola from him, was living with her at the Guest House, here, on the hill. How shall I tell you the rest?"
By such steps my thoughts led me on to the pathetic figure of Ysola Camber. Save for the faithful Ah Tsong she was alone in that house to which tragedy had come unbidden, unforeseen. I doubted if she had a woman friend in all the countryside.
Emotion had the effect of enlarging the pupils, a phenomenon rarely met with, so that now as she entered the room and found a stranger present they seemed to be rather black than blue. Her embarrassment was acute, and I think she would have retired without speaking, but: "Ysola," said Colin Camber, regarding her with a look curiously compounded of sorrow and pride, "allow me to present Mr.
"I must tell you," she commenced "that before my marriage, my name was Isabella de Valera." I started. "Ysola was my baby way of saying it, and so I came to be called Ysola. My father was manager of one of Senor Don Juan's estates, in a small island near the coast of Cuba. My mother" she raised her little hands eloquently "was half-caste. Do you know? And she and my father "
Colin Camber inclined his head. "Very well," he said; "you only do your duty." The little fingers clutching his sleeve slowly relaxed, and Mrs. Camber, uttering a long sigh, sank in a swoon at his feet. "Ysola! Ysola!" he muttered. Stooping he raised the child-like figure. "If you will kindly open the door, Mr. Knox," he said, "I will carry my wife to her room."