“Certainly,” replied Mrs. Ambrose, still beaming upon him. “I will not let him unpack his things at the vicarage. Good-bye—so many thanks.”
Mrs. Goddard’s head ached “terrible bad” according to Martha, and when the vicar left her she went and lay down upon her bed, with a sensation that if the worst were not yet over she could bear no more. But she had an elastic temperament, and the fact of having consulted Mr. Ambrose that morning had been a greater relief than she herself suspected. She felt that he could be trusted to save Mr. Juxon from harm and Walter from capture, and having once confided to him the important secret which had so heavily weighed upon her mind she felt that the burthen of her troubles was lightened. Mr. Juxon could take any measures he pleased for his own safety; he would probably choose to stay at home until the danger was past. As for her husband, Mary Goddard did not believe that he would return a third time, for she thought that she had thoroughly frightened him. It was even likely that he had only thrown out his threat for the sake of terrifying his wife, and was now far beyond the limits of the parish. So great was the relief she felt after she had talked with the vicar that she almost ceased to believe there was any danger at all; looking at it in the light of her present mood, she almost wondered why she had thought it necessary to tell Mr. Ambrose—until suddenly a vision of her friend the squire, attacked and perhaps killed, in his own park, rose to her mental vision, and she remembered what agonies of fear she had felt for him until she had sent for the vicar. The latter indeed seemed to have been a sort of deus ex maohina by whom she suddenly obtained peace of mind and a sense of security in the hour of her greatest distress.
All that afternoon she lay upon her bed, while Nellie sat beside her and read to her, and stroked her hands; for Nellie was in reality passionately fond of her mother and suffered almost as much at the sight of her suffering as she could have done had she been in pain herself. Both Mrs. Goddard and the child started at the sound of Stamboul’s baying, which was unlike anything they had ever heard before, and Nellie ran to the window.
“It is only Mr. Juxon and Stamboul having a game,” said Nellie. “What a noise he made, though! Did not he?”
Poor Nellie—had she had any idea of what the “game” was from which the squire found it so hard to make his hound desist, she must have gone almost mad with horror. For the game was her own father, poor child. But she came back and sat beside her mother utterly unconscious of what might have happened if Stamboul had once got beyond earshot, galloping along the trail towards the disused vault at the back of the church. Mrs. Goddard had started at the sounds and had put her hand to her forehead, but Nellie’s explanation was enough