She made the affirmative sign once more.
At the same moment the door in the passage below was opened and closed again. Geoffrey instantly went down stairs. It was possible that Anne might have forgotten something; and it was necessary to prevent her from returning to her own room.
They met in the passage.
“Tired of waiting in the garden?” he asked, abruptly.
She pointed to the dining-room.
“The postman has just given me a letter for you, through the grating in the gate,” she answered. “I have put it on the table in there.”
He went in. The handwriting on the address of the letter was the handwriting of Mrs. Glenarm. He put it unread into his pocket, and went back to Anne.
“Step out!” he said. “We shall lose the train.”
They started for their visit to Holchester House.
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-SEVENTH.
AT a few minutes before six o’clock that evening, Lord Holchester’s carriage brought Geoffrey and Anne back to the cottage.
Geoffrey prevented the servant from ringing at the gate. He had taken the key with him, when he left home earlier in the day. Having admitted Anne, and having closed the gate again, he went on before her to the kitchen window, and called to Hester Dethridge.
“Take some cold water into the drawing-room and fill the vase on the chimney-piece,” he said. “The sooner you put those flowers into water,” he added, turning to his wife, “the longer they will last.”
He pointed, as he spoke, to a nosegay in Anne’s hand, which Julius had gathered for her from the conservatory at Holchester House. Leaving her to arrange the flowers in the vase, he went up stairs. After waiting for a moment, he was joined by Hester Dethridge.
“Done?” he asked, in a whisper.
Hester made the affirmative sign. Geoffrey took off his boots and led the way into the spare room. They noiselessly moved the bed back to its place against the partition wall—and left the room again. When Anne entered it, some minutes afterward, not the slightest change of any kind was visible since she had last seen it in the middle of the day.
She removed her bonnet and mantle, and sat down to rest.
The whole course of events, since the previous night, had tended one way, and had exerted the same delusive influence over her mind. It was impossible for her any longer to resist the conviction that she had distrusted appearances without the slightest reason, and that she had permitted purely visionary suspicions to fill her with purely causeless alarm. In the firm belief that she was in danger, she had watched through the night—and nothing had happened. In the confident anticipation that Geoffrey had promised what he was resolved not to perform, she had waited to see what excuse he would find for keeping her at