“After all, I don’t think I run much risk,” he answered. “But if there was a risk, it would be well worth while.”
It was nearly dark, but he thought he saw some color in her face.
“Good luck! But wait in the road for a minute or two,” she said and turned away.
He watched her cross the lawn until her figure faded into the gloom, after which he went back to the gate and waited until John came up with a small packet.
“Miss Featherstone sends you this, sir, but hopes you won’t open it until you are in the train.”
Foster thanked him and went back with Pete up the waterside. The air was keen and a light mist hung about the rough track that took them to the moors. There was a beat of wings as a flock of wild duck passed overhead when they skirted a reedy pool, and once or twice the wild cry of a curlew came out of the dark. Except for this, the moor was silent and desolate, but Foster felt a strange poignant elation as he stumbled among the ruts and splashed across boggy grass. They walked for two or three hours and he was muddy and rather wet when the lights of a small station began to twinkle in the gloom ahead.
Half an hour later they caught a train to Hexham, and Foster, who sent Pete to a smoking compartment, was alone when he opened the packet John had brought. Then the blood rushed to his face and his heart beat, for when he unfolded the thin paper he saw a small white glove. Remembering how they had once talked about Border chivalry, he knew what Alice meant. She believed his tale and knew the risks he ran, and had sent him her glove that he might carry it as her badge. He folded the piece of delicate kid carefully and put it in a pocket where it rested upon his heart.
“After this, I’ve got to put my job over, whatever it costs,” he said.
A DIFFICULT PART
It was four o’clock in the afternoon when Foster stopped in front of the grimy building where Graham had his office, and looked up and down the street. Close by, a carter stood at the head of an impatient horse that stamped and rattled its harness, and a hoist clanked as a bale of goods went up to a top story; but except for this the street was quiet Farther off, one or two moving figures showed indistinctly, for rain was falling and the light getting dim. Foster, who had arrived in Newcastle that morning, had waited, thinking it might suit him better to leave the town in the dark.
“Go back to the end of the street, where you can see the clock,” he said to Pete. “If I don’t join you in half an hour, run to the nearest police station and ask for a man to search the top office in this building.”
“The polis are no’ good friends o’ mine,” Pete replied doubtfully. “I would sooner come for ye my lane. There’s an airnmonger’s roon’ the corner, where I would maybe get a shairp gairden fork.”