“All right,” she said. “Good night.”
The gardener mounted his bicycle again and moved off.
“Well?” said the old man.
“Father Mahon’s called away suddenly. It’s from his housekeeper. He’ll only be back in time for the first mass tomorrow.”
The other nodded, three or four times, as if in assent.
“Why do you do that?” asked the girl suddenly.
“It is what I should have expected to happen.”
“What! Father Mahon?—Do you mean it ... it is arranged?”
“I know nothing. It may be coincidence. Speak no more of it. You have the facts to think of.”
About them as they walked back in silence lay the quiet spring night. From the direction of the hamlet came the banging of a door, then voices wishing good night, and the sound of footsteps. The steps passed the end of the lane and died away again. Over the trees to the right were visible the high twisted chimney of the old house where the terror dwelt.
“Two points then to remember,” said the voice in the darkness—“Courage and Love. Can you remember?”
Maggie bowed her head again in answer.
“I will call and ask to see you as soon as the household is up. If you can’t see me, I shall understand that things are going well—or you can send out a note to me. As for Mrs. Baxter—”
“I shall not say one word to her until it becomes absolutely necessary. And if—”
“If it becomes necessary I will wire for a doctor from town. I will undertake all the preliminary arrangements, if you will allow me.”
Ten steps before the corner they stopped.
“God bless you, Miss Deronnais. Remember, I am at the inn if you need me.”
Mrs. Baxter dined placidly in bed at about half-past seven; but she was more sleepy than ever when she had done. She was rash enough to drink a little claret and water.
“It always goes straight to my head, Charlotte,” she explained. “Well, set the book—no, not that one—the one bound in white parchment.... Yes, just so, down here; and turn the reading lamp so that I can read if I want to.... Oh! ask Miss Maggie to tap at my door very softly when she comes out from dinner. Has she gone down yet?”
“I think I heard her step just now, ma’am.”
“Very well; then you can just tell Susan to let her know. How was Mr. Laurie looking, Charlotte?”
“I haven’t seen him, ma’am.”
“Very well. Then that is all, Charlotte. You can just look in here after Miss Maggie and settle me for the night.”
Then the door closed, and Mrs. Baxter instantly began to doze off.