Eustace read no more. Sick and faint with an extraordinary revulsion of feeling, he leant against the door of the masonic shop, which promptly opened in the most hospitable manner, depositing him upon his back on the floor of the establishment. In a second he was up, and had bounded out of the shop with such energy that the shopman was on the point of holloaing “Stop thief!” It was exactly five o’clock, and he was not more than a quarter of a mile or so from Waterloo Station. A hansom was sauntering along in front of him, he sprang into it. “Waterloo, main line,” he shouted, “as hard as you can go,” and in another moment he was rolling across the bridge. Five or six minutes’ drive brought him to the station, to which an enormous number of people were hurrying, collected together partly by a rumour of what was going on, and partly by that magnetic contagion of excitement which runs through a London mob like fire through dry grass.
He dismissed the hansom, throwing the driver half-a-crown, which, considering that half-crowns were none too plentiful with him, was a rash thing to do, and vigorously shouldered his way through the crush till he reached the spot where the carriage and pair were standing. The carriage was just beginning to move on.
“Stop!” he shouted at the top of his voice to the coachman, who pulled up again. In another moment he was alongside, and there, sweeter and more beautiful than in ever, he once more saw his love.
She started at his voice, which she seemed to know, and their eyes met. Their eyes met and a great light of happiness shot into her sweet face and shone there till it was covered up and lost in the warm blush that followed.
He tried to speak, but could not. Twice he tried, and twice he failed, and meanwhile the mob shouted like anything. At last, however, he got it out—“Thank God!” he stammered, “thank God you are safe!”
For answer, she stretched out her hand and gave him one sweet look. He took it, and once more the carriage began to move on.
“Where are you to be found?” he had the presence of mind to ask.
“At Lady Holmhurst’s. Come to-morrow morning; I have something to tell you,” she answered, and in another minute the carriage was gone, leaving him standing there in a condition of mind which really “can be better imagined than described.”
Eustace could never quite remember how he got through the evening of that eventful day. Everything connected with it seemed hazy to him. As, however, fortunately for the reader of this history, we are not altogether dependent on the memory of a young man in love, which is always a treacherous thing to deal with, having other and exclusive sources of information, we may as well fill the gap. First of all he went to his club and seized a “Red-book,” in which he discovered that Lord Holmhurst’s, or,