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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 280 pages of information about Carmen's Messenger.

XIX

ALICE’S CONFIDENCE

Foster got up late and after breakfast sat by the kitchen fire, studying his map.  He imagined that his pursuers, believing him to be in front, had crossed the low ground towards the cultivated valley of the Esk, where they would not have trouble in finding shelter for the night.  Then, if they thought he was making for the Garth, the railway would take them up Liddesdale.

He meant to visit the Garth, although this might prove dangerous if Graham and his companion watched the neighborhood.  So long as Pete was close at hand, the risk might not be great, but Pete could not be with him always and he thought Graham would stick at nothing to get his papers back.  One of the gang had killed Fred Hulton, and Foster did not suppose the others would hesitate about getting rid of him, if it could be done without putting the police on their track.  A shot or stab in the dark would effectually prevent his betraying them, and it might be made to look like an accident, or perhaps as if he had killed himself.  Foster, as a rule, distrusted anything that looked abnormal or theatrical, but admitted that he might be in some danger.  For all that, he was going.  There was no need for an early start, because he did not want to arrive in daylight and the distance was not great.  Then he meant to avoid the high roads, and after a talk with Pete picked out his route across the hills.  It was eleven o’clock when they set off, and they spent an hour sheltering behind a dyke while a snowstorm broke upon the moor.  The snow was wet and did not lie, but the soaked grass and ling afterwards clung about their feet and made walking laborious.  The sky was gray and lowering and there was a bitter wind, but they pushed on across the high moors, and when the light was going saw a gap in a long ridge in front.  Foster thought this marked the way down to the Garth.

It was nearly dark when they reached the gap, through which a brown stream flowed, and he could see nothing except dim hillsides and the black trough of the hollow.  Pete said they must follow the water, and they stumbled downhill among the stones beside the burn.  As they descended, a valley opened up and a rough track began near a sheepfold.  Although it was dark, Foster saw that they were now crossing rushy pasture, and they had to stop every now and then to open a gate.  The stream was swelling with tributaries from the hills and began to roar among the stones.  Birches clustered in the hollows, the track became a road, and at length a group of lights twinkled across a fir wood and he knew the Garth was not far ahead.

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