“Certain? Why, I passed them in George street, Richmond, last evening, as I was driving to the Star and Garter. They were together in a trap, going toward Kew. That is the reason I determined to speak to you to-night.”
Stephen Foster rose and hurried toward the door; his face was pale with anger and alarm.
“Stop!” cried Nevill. “What are you going to do?”
“Sit still,” was the hoarse reply. “I’ll tell you when I return.”
UNCLE AND NEPHEW.
Victor Nevill was on his feet instantly, and by a quick move he intercepted Foster and clutched him by the arm. He repeated his question: “What are you going to do?”
“Take your hand off me. I shall hear from Madge’s own lips a denial of your words. How dare you accuse her of stooping to an intrigue?”
“I wouldn’t call it that. Madge is young and innocent. She knows little of the censorious world. She has been left pretty much to herself, and naturally she sees no harm in meeting Vernon. As for denying my words—she can’t do that.”
“I will call her to account, and make her confess everything.”
“But not to-night,” urged Nevill. “Come, sit down.”
Stephen Foster yielded to the solicitation of his companion, and went back to his chair. He mixed a whisky and soda, and drank half of it.
“I forget,” he muttered, “that my little Madge has grown to womanhood. Her very innocence would make her an easy prey to some unscrupulous scoundrel. I must speak to her, Nevill.”
“Yes, by all means.”
“And why not to-night?”
“Need you ask? Would not Madge know at once that it was I who told you? And what, then, would be my chance of winning her?”
“It couldn’t be any poorer than it is now,” thought Stephen Foster. “Did she see you yesterday?” he said aloud.
“No, by good luck she did not—at least I feel pretty sure of it. A jolly good thing, too, for Vernon recognized me and nodded to me. But whether Madge saw me or not won’t make much difference under present circumstances. If you go downstairs now and start a row with her, she will be sure to suspect that you received your information from me.”
“Quite likely. What do you want me to do?”
“Wait until to-morrow evening, when you return from town. Then tell her that some stock-broking friend of yours in the city saw her near Richmond station.”
“That is the best plan,” assented Stephen Foster. “I will take your advice.”
“Of course you will forbid her to have anything more to do with Vernon, and will see that your wishes are enforced?”
“Decidedly. The man has behaved badly, and I can’t believe that he has any honorable intentions. He has been simply amusing himself with the girl.”
“That’s like him,” Nevill said carelessly. “Jack Vernon was always a rake and a roue; though, as I am a friend of his, I ought not to tell you this. But for your daughter’s sake—”