The first day Fergus Derrick was allowed to spend an hour in an easy-chair by the fire, he heard the story of his rescue from the lips of his friend, listening to it as he rested against the propping cushions.
"Don't be afraid of exciting me," he had said to Grace. "I have conjectured until I am tired of it. Tell me the whole story. Let me hear the end now."
Derrick's breath came quick and short as he listened, and his haggard face flushed. It was not only to his friend he owed his life, but to Joan Lowrie.
"I should like to see her," he said when Grace had finished. "As for you,—Grace—well—words are poor things."
"They are very poor things between friends," was Grace's answer; "so let us have none of them. You are on this side of the grave, dear fellow—that is enough."
During the rest of the day Derrick was silent and abstracted, but plainly full of active thought. By nightfall a feverish spot burned upon his cheek, and his pulse had quickened dangerously.
"I must wait," he said to Grace, "and it is hard work."
Just at that time Anice was sitting in her room at the rectory, thinking of Joan also, when there came to her the sound of footsteps in the passage and then a summons to the door.
"You may come in," she said.