"I shall soon be back, my darling—soon be back to see how you are getting on."
My voice faltered a little in spite of me. I forced myself from the room. It was no time, then, for parting with the self-control which might yet serve me in my need before the day was out.
As I opened the door, I beckoned to Marian to follow me to the stairs. It was necessary to prepare her for a result which I felt might sooner or later follow my showing myself openly in the streets.
"I shall, in all probability, be back in a few hours," I said; "and you will take care, as usual, to let no one inside the doors in my absence. But if anything happens——"
"What can happen?" she interposed quickly. "Tell me plainly, Walter, if there is any danger—and I shall know how to meet it."
"The only danger," I replied, "is that Sir Percival Glyde may have been recalled to London by the news of Laura's escape. You are aware that he had me watched before I left England; and that he probably knows me by sight, although I don't know him?"
She laid her hand on my shoulder, and looked at me in anxious silence. I saw she understood the serious risk that threatened us.
"It is not likely," I said, "that I shall be seen in London again so soon, either by Sir Percival himself or by the persons in his employ. But it is barely possible that an accident may happen. In that case, you will not be alarmed if I fail to return to-night; and you will satisfy any inquiry of Laura's with the best excuse that you can make for me? If I find the least reason to suspect that I am watched, I will take good care that no spy follows me back to this house. Don't doubt my return, Marian, however it may be delayed—and fear nothing."
"Nothing!" she answered, firmly. "You shall not regret, Walter, that you have only a woman to help you." She paused, and detained me for a moment longer. "Take care!" she said, pressing my hand anxiously—"take care!"
I left her; and set forth to pave the way for discovery—the dark and doubtful way, which began at the lawyer's door.
No circumstance of the slightest importance happened on my way to the offices of Messrs. Gilmore & Kyrle, in Chancery Lane.
While my card was being taken in to Mr. Kyrle, a considera-