of her husband's quaint comparison. "I am never warm, Miss Halcombe," she remarked, with the modest air of a woman who was confessing to one of her own merits.
"Have you and Lady Glyde been out this evening?" asked the Count, while I was taking a book from the shelves to preserve appearances.
"Yes, we went out to get a little air."
"May I ask in what direction?"
"In the direction of the lake—as far as the boat-house."
"Aha? As far as the boat-house?"
Under other circumstances I might have resented his curiosity. But to-night I hailed it as another proof that neither he nor his wife were connected with the mysterious appearance at the lake.
"No more adventures, I suppose, this evening?" he went on. "No more discoveries, like your discovery of the wounded dog?"
He fixed his unfathomable grey eyes on me, with that cold, clear, irresistible glitter in them which always forces me to look at him, and always makes me uneasy while I do look. An unutterable suspicion that his mind is prying into mine overcomes me at these times, and it overcame me now.
"No," I said shortly; "no adventures—no discoveries."
I tried to look away from him and leave the room. Strange as it seems, I hardly think I should have succeeded in the attempt if Madame Fosco had not helped me by causing him to move and look away first.
"Count, you are keeping Miss Halcombe standing," she said.
The moment he turned round to get me a chair, I seized my opportunity—thanked him—made my excuses—and slipped out.
An hour later, when Laura's maid happened to be in her mistress's room, I took occasion to refer to the closeness of the night, with a view to ascertaining next how the servants had been passing their time.
"Have you been suffering much from the heat downstairs?" I asked.
"No, miss," said the girl, "we have not felt it to speak of."
"You have been out in the woods then, I suppose?"
"Some of us thought of going, miss. But cook said she should take her chair into the cool court-yard, outside the kitchen door, and on second thoughts, all the rest of us took our chairs out there too."