They moved away a few steps. I thought they had left me, but Anne suddenly stopped, and separated herself from her friend.
"Wait a little," she said. "I must say good-bye."
She returned to the grave, rested both hands tenderly on the marble cross, and kissed it.
"I'm better now," she sighed, looking up at me quietly. "I forgive you."
She joined her companion again, and they left the burial-ground. I saw them stop near the church and speak to the sexton's wife, who had come from the cottage, and had waited, watching us from a distance. Then they went on again up the path that led to the moor. I looked after Anne Catherick as she disappeared, till all trace of her had faded in the twilight—looked as anxiously and sorrowfully as if that was the last I was to see in this weary world of the woman in white.
Half an hour later I was back at the house, and was informing Miss Halcombe of all that had happened.
She listened to me from beginning to end with a steady, silent attention, which, in a woman of her temperament and disposition, was the strongest proof that could be offered of the serious manner in which my narrative affected her.
"My mind misgives me," was all she said when I had done. "My mind misgives me sadly about the future."
"The future may depend," I suggested, "on the use we make of the present. It is not improbable that Anne Catherick may speak more readily and unreservedly to a woman than she has spoken to me. If Miss Fairlie——"
"Not to be thought of for a moment," interposed Miss Halcombe, in her most decided manner.
"Let me suggest, then," I continued, "that you should see Anne Catherick yourself, and do all you can to win her confidence. For my own part, I shrink from the idea of alarming the poor creature a second time, as I have most unhappily alarmed her already. Do you see any objection to accompanying me to the farm-house to-morrow?"
"None whatever. I will go anywhere and do anything to serve Laura's interests. What did you say the place was called?"
"You must know it well. It is called Todd's Corner."
"Certainly. Todd's Corner is one of Mr. Fairlie's farms.