Only her jealousy and her hatred burnt fiercely above her terror; she would not give in, she told herself, until she found it.
Denis Wilde, who was restless too, had heard her soft footsteps along the passage outside his door; and, with a vague uneasiness as to who could be about at such an hour, he came creeping out of his room, and peeped in at the library door.
He saw her sitting upon the floor, a lighted candle by her side, an open drawer, out of her husband’s writing-table, upon her lap, turning over papers, and bills, and note-books with eager, trembling hands. And he saw in her white, set face, and wild, scared eyes, that which made him draw back swiftly and shudderingly from the sight of her.
“Good God!” he murmured to himself, as he sought his room again, “the woman has murder in her face!”
And at last she had to give it up; the letters were not to be found. The storm without settled itself to rest, the thunder died away in the far distance over the hills, and Helen, worn out with fatigue and emotion, sought a troubled slumber upon the sofa in her dressing-room.
“She cannot have given it to him,” was the conclusion she came to at last. “Well, she will do so to-morrow, and I—I will not let her out of my sight, not for one instant, all the day!”
A GARDEN PARTY.
I have done for ever with all these things:
The songs are ended, the deeds are done;
There shall none of them gladden me now, not one.
There is nothing good for me under the sun
But to perish—as these things perished.
A. L. Gordon.
Mr. Guy Miller is a young gentleman who has not played an important part in these pages; nevertheless, but for him, sundry events which took place at Shadonake at this time would not have had to be recorded.
It so happened that Guy Miller’s twenty-first birthday was in the third week of September, and that it was determined by his parents to celebrate the day in an appropriate and fitting manner. Guy was a youth of no particular looks, and no particular manners; he had been at Oxford, but his father had lately taken him away from it, with a view to his travelling, and seeing something of the world before he settled down as a country gentleman. He had had no opportunity, therefore, of distinguishing himself at college; but as he was not overburdened with brains, and had, moreover, never been known to study with interest any profounder literature than “Handley Cross” and “Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour,” it is possible that, even had he been left undisturbed to pursue his studies at the university, he would never have developed into a bright or shining ornament at that seat of learning.
As it was, Guy came home to the paternal mansion an ignorant but amiable and inoffensive young man, with a small, fluffy moustache, and no particular bent in life beyond smoking short pipes, and loafing about the premises with his hands in his trousers pockets.