Presently, she was gone, and he heard the front-door close behind her. He went to the window, and watched the tall form gradually growing fainter in the gloaming, till it vanished altogether.
Then he came back, and, sitting down at his writing-table, rested his grizzled head upon his hand and thought. Presently he raised it, and there was a sad smile flickering round the wrinkles of the nervous mouth.
“And now for ‘hard labour at the London docks,’” he said, aloud.
Nothing occurred to mar the prosperity of the voyage of the Evening Star. That beautiful little vessel declined to simplify the course of this history by going to the bottom with Mildred and Arthur, as the imaginative reader may have perhaps expected. She did not even get into a terrific storm, in order to give Arthur the opportunity of performing heroic feats, and the writer of this history the chance of displaying a profound knowledge of the names of ropes and spars. On the contrary, she glided on upon a sea so still that even Miss Terry was persuaded to arouse herself from her torpor, and come upon deck, till at last, one morning, the giant peak of Teneriffe, soaring high above its circling clouds, broke upon the view of her passengers.
Here they stopped for a week or so, enjoying themselves very much in their new surroundings, till at length Arthur grew tired of the islands, which was of course the signal for their departure. So they returned, reaching Madeira after an absence of close upon a month. As they dropped anchor in the little bay, Mildred came up to Arthur, and, touching him with that gentle deference which she always showed towards him, asked him if he was not glad to be home again.
“Home!” he said. “I have no home.”
“Oh, Arthur;” she answered, “why do you try to pain me? Is not my home yours also?”
So soon as they landed, he started off to “Miles’ Hotel,” to see if any letters had come for him during his absence, and returned, looking very much put out.
“What is the matter, Arthur?” asked Miss Terry, once again happy at feeling her feet upon solid soil.
“Why, those idiots at the hotel have returned a letter sent to me by my lawyer. They thought that I had left Madeira for good, and the letter was marked, ‘If left, return to Messrs. Borley and Son,’ with the address. And the mail went out this afternoon into the bargain, so it will be a month before I can get it back again.”
Had Arthur known that this letter contained clippings of the newspaper reports of the inquest on George Caresfoot, of whose death even he was in total ignorance, he would have had good reason to be put out.
“Never mind, Arthur,” said Mildred’s clear voice at his elbow—she was rarely much further from him than his shadow; “lawyers’ letters are not, as a rule, very interesting. I never yet had one that would not keep. Come and see if your pavilion—isn’t that a grand name?—is arranged to your liking, and then let us go to dinner, for Agatha here is dying of hunger—she has to make up for her abstinence at sea.”