"I advise you not to be too sure of that," I rejoined. "I know some things about him, and I suspect many more."
"What do you suspect?"
"I'll tell you what I DON'T suspect. I DON'T suspect him of being Anne's father."
She started to her feet, and came close up to me with a look of fury.
"How dare you talk to me about Anne's father! How dare you say who was her father, or who wasn't!" she broke out, her face quivering, her voice trembling with passion.
"The secret between you and Sir Percival is not THAT secret," I persisted. "The mystery which darkens Sir Percival's life was not born with your daughter's birth, and has not died with your daughter's death."
She drew back a step. "Go!" she said, and pointed sternly to the door.
"There was no thought of the child in your heart or in his," I went on, determined to press her back to her last defences. "There was no bond of guilty love between you and him when you held those stolen meetings, when your husband found you whispering together under the vestry of the church."
Her pointing hand instantly dropped to her side, and the deep flush of anger faded from her face while I spoke. I saw the change pass over her—I saw that hard, firm, fearless, self- possessed woman quail under a terror which her utmost resolution was not strong enough to resist when I said those five last words, "the vestry of the church."
For a minute or more we stood looking at each other in silence. I spoke first.
"Do you still refuse to trust me?" I asked.
She could not call the colour that had left it back to her face, but she had steadied her voice, she had recovered the defiant self-possession of her manner when she answered me.
"I do refuse," she said.
"Do you still tell me to go?"
"Yes. Go—and never come back."
I walked to the door, waited a moment before I opened it, and turned round to look at her again.
"I may have news to bring you of Sir Percival which you don't expect," I said, "and in that case I shall come back."
"There is no news of Sir Percival that I don't expect, except——"
She stopped, her pale face darkened, and she stole back with a quiet, stealthy, cat-like step to her chair.