He knelt down by the grave, and pressed his lips to the granite on which George Sedgewick’s name was chiselled.
“I owe it to the dead to discover her fate,” he said to himself, as he rose from that reverent attitude. “I owe it to the dead to penetrate the secret of her new life, to assure myself that she is happy, and has fallen under no fatal influence.”
The Listers were still abroad, and Gilbert was very glad that it was so. It would have excruciated him to hear his sister’s comments on Marian’s conduct, and to perceive the suppressed exultation with which she would most likely have discussed this unhappy termination to an engagement which had been entered on in utter disregard of her counsel.
JOHN SALTRAM’S ADVICE.
Mr. Fenton discovered the Bruce family in Boundary-road, St. John’s-wood, after a good deal of trouble. But they could tell him nothing of their dear friend Miss Nowell, of whom they spoke with the warmest regard. They had never seen her since they had left the school at Lidford, where they had been boarders, and she a daily pupil. They had not even heard of Captain Sedgewick’s death.
Gilbert asked these young ladies if they knew of any other acquaintance of Marian’s living in or near London. They both answered promptly in the negative. The school was a small one, and they had been the only pupils who came from town; nor had they ever heard Marian speak of any London friends.
Thus ended Mr. Fenton’s inquiries in this direction, leaving him no wiser than when he left Lidford. He had now exhausted every possible channel by which he might obtain information. The ground lay open before him, and there was nothing left for him but publicity. He took an advertisement to the Times office that afternoon, and paid for six insertions in the second column:—
“Miss MARIAN NOWELL, late of Lidford, Midlandshire, is requested to communicate immediately with G.F., Post-office, Wigmore-street, to whom her silence has caused extreme anxiety. She may rely upon the advertiser’s friendship and fidelity under all possible circumstances.”
Gilbert felt a little more hopeful after having done this. He fancied this advertisement must needs bring him some tidings of his lost love. The mystery might be happily solved after all, and Marian prove true to him. He tried to persuade himself that this was possible; but it was very difficult to reconcile her line of conduct with the fact of her regard for him.