The janitor looked at her for a few moments attentively, and seemed to notice for the first time her ladylike appearance and manners; a sort of reserve crept over him at the conclusion of his scrutiny, for he made no answer to her question, but simply asked, with more formality than before, “Are you a relation—do you want an order for the body?”
Ere Lizzie could answer his question, a man, plainly dressed, with keen grey eyes that seemed to look restlessly about in every corner of the room, came and stood beside the janitor. He looked at Lizzie from the bow on the top of her bonnet to the shoes on her feet; it was not a stare, it was more a hasty glance—and yet she could not help feeling that he knew every item of her dress, and could have described her exactly.
“Are you a relative of this person,” he asked, in a clear sharp voice, whilst his keen eyes seemed to be piercing her through in search of the truth.
“No, sir,” she answered, faintly.
“A friend then, I presume,” continued he, respectfully.
“An acquaintance,” returned she. The man paused for a few moments, then taking out his watch, looked at the time, and hastened from the office.
This man possessed Lizzie with a singular feeling of dread—why she could not determine; yet, after he was gone, she imagined those cold grey eyes were resting on her, and bidding the old janitor, who had grown reserved so suddenly, good morning, she sprang into her carriage as fast as her trembling limbs could carry her, and ordered the coachman to drive back to the hotel.
“Father must fly!” soliloquized she; “the alarm will, no doubt, lend him energy. I’ve heard of people who have not been able to leave their rooms for months becoming suddenly strong under the influence of terror. We must be off to some place of concealment until we can learn whether he is compromised by that wretched man’s confession.”
Lizzie quickly paid her bill, packed her trunk, and started for the station in hopes of catching the mid-day train for New York.
The driver did not spare his horses, but at her request drove them at their utmost speed—but in vain. She arrived there only time enough to see the train move away; and there, standing on the platform, looking at her with a sort of triumphant satisfaction, was the man with the keen grey eyes. “Stop! stop!” cried she.
“Too late, miss,” said a bystander, sympathizingly; “just too late—no other train for three hours.”
“Three hours!” said Lizzie, despairingly; “three hours! Yet I must be patient—there is no remedy,” and she endeavoured to banish her fears and occupy herself in reading the advertisements that were posted up about the station. It was of no avail, that keen-looking man with his piercing grey eyes haunted her; and she could not avoid associating him in her thoughts with her father and McCloskey. What was he doing on the train, and why did he regard her with that look of triumphant satisfaction.