Shortly after this, Lawrence sat in the parlor, by himself, writing a letter. It was to Junius Keswick; and in it he related the facts of his search for him in New York, and the reason why he desired to make his acquaintance. He concealed nothing but the fact that Keswick’s cousin had had anything to do with the affair. “If she wants him to know that,” he thought, “she can tell him herself. It is not my business to make any revelations in that quarter.” He concluded the letter by informing Mr Keswick of the visit of the anti-detective, and warning him against any attempts which that individual might make upon his pocket, assuring him that the man could tell him nothing in regard to the affair that he now did not know.
After dinner, during which meal Miss March appeared in a very good humor, and talked rather more than she had yet done in the bosom of that family, Lawrence had his horse saddled, and rode to the railroad station, about six miles distant, where he posted his letter; and also sent a telegram to Mr Junius Keswick, warning him to pay no attention to any man who might call upon him on business connected with Croft and Keswick, and stating that an explanatory letter had been sent.
The anti-detective had left on a train an hour before, but Lawrence felt certain that the telegram would reach Keswick before the man could possibly get to him, especially as the latter had probably not yet found out his intended victim’s address.
As Lawrence Croft rode back to Mrs Keswick’s house, after having posted to his rival the facts in the case of Croft after Keswick, he did not feel in a very happy or triumphant mood. The visit of the anti-detective had compelled him to write to Keswick at a time when it was not at all desirable that he should make any disclosures whatever in regard to his love affair with Miss March, except that very important disclosure which he had made to the lady herself that morning. Of course there was no great danger that any intimation would reach Miss March of Mr Croft’s rather eccentric search for his predecessor in the position which he wished to occupy in her affections. But the matter was particularly unpleasant just now, and Lawrence wished to occupy his time here in business very different from that of sending explanations to rivals and warding off unfriendly entanglements threatened by a blackmailer.
It was absolutely necessary for him to find out what he had done to offend Miss March. Offended that lady certainly was, and he even felt that she was glad of the opportunity his declaration gave her to inflict punishment upon him. But still he did not despair. When she had made him pay the penalty she thought proper for whatever error he had committed, she might be willing to listen to him. He had not said anything to her in regard to his failure to make her the promised visit at Midbranch, for,