The man smiled, and shifted his feet in some little embarrassment.
"Why, to tell you the truth, sir," he said, "I hadn't been long married at that time; and my wife's name, before she changed it for mine, was the same as the lady's—meaning the name of Glyde, sir. The lady mentioned it herself. 'Is your name on your boxes, ma'am?' says I. 'Yes,' says she, 'my name is on my luggage—it is Lady Glyde.' 'Come!' I says to myself, 'I've a bad head for gentlefolks' names in general—but this one comes like an old friend, at any rate.' I can't say nothing about the time, sir: it might be nigh on a year ago, or it mightn't. But I can swear to the stout gentleman, and swear to the lady's name."
There was no need that he should remember the time; the date was positively established by his master's order-book. I felt at once that the means were now in my power of striking down the whole conspiracy at a blow with the irresistible weapon of plain fact. Without a moment's hesitation, I took the proprietor of the livery stables aside, and told him what the real importance was of the evidence of his order-book and the evidence of his driver. An arrangement to compensate him for the temporary loss of the man's services was easily made; and a copy of the entry in the book was taken by myself, and certified as true by the master's own signature. I left the livery stables, having settled that John Owen was to hold himself at my disposal for the next three days, or for a longer period, if necessity required it.
I now had in my possession all the papers that I wanted; the district registrar's own copy of the certificate of death, and Sir Percival's dated letter to the Count, being safe in my pocket-book.
With this written evidence about me, and with the coachman's answers fresh in my memory, I next turned my steps, for the first time since the beginning of all my inquiries, in the direction of Mr. Kyrle's office. One of my objects, in paying him this second visit, was, necessarily, to tell him what I had done. The other, was to warn him of my resolution to take my wife to Limmeridge the next morning, and to have her publicly received and recognised in her uncle's house. I left it to Mr. Kyrle to decide, under these circumstances, and in Mr. Gilmore's absence, whether he was or was not bound, as the family solicitor, to be present, on that occasion, in the family interests.
I will say nothing of Mr. Kyrle's amazement, or of the terms in which he expressed his opinion of my conduct, from