On the day after this she got a second letter, and that she showed immediately to Mrs Dale. It was from her mother, and was written to tell that her father was seriously ill. ’He went up to London to see a lawyer about this weary work of the trial,’ said Mrs Crawley. ’The fatigue was very great, and on the next day he was so weak that he could not leave his bed. Dr Turner, who has been very kind, says that we need not frighten ourselves, but he thinks it must be some time before he can leave the house. He has a low fever on him, and wants nourishment. His mind has wandered once or twice, and he has asked for you, and I think it will be best, love, that you should come home. I know you will not mind it when I say that I think he would like to have you here. Dr Turner says that the illness is chiefly owing to his not having proper food.’
Of course she would go home. ‘Dear Mrs Dale,’ she said; ’I must go home. Can you send me to the station?’ Then Mrs Dale read the letter. Of course they would send her. Would she go on that day, or on the next? Might it not be better to write first, and say that she was going? But Grace would go at once. ’I know it will be a comfort to mamma; and I know that he is worse than mamma says.’ Of course there was no more to be said, and she was despatched to the station. Before she went Mrs Dale asked after her purse. ’If there is any trouble about money—for your journey, or anything, you will not scruple to come to me as an old friend.’ But Grace assured her that there was no trouble about money—for her journey. Then Lily took her aside and produced two clean new five-pound notes. ’Grace, dear, you won’t be ill-natured. You know I have a little fortune of my own. You know I can give them without missing them.’ Grace threw herself into her friend’s arms and wept, but would have none of her money. ’Buy a present from me to your mother—whom I love though I do not know her.’ ’I will give her your love,’ Grace said, ‘but nothing else.’ And then she went.
Mr Dobbs Broughton and Mr Musselboro were sitting together on a certain morning at their office in the City, discussing the affairs of their joint business. The City office was a very poor place indeed, in comparison with the fine house which Mr Dobbs occupied at the West End; but then City offices are poor places, and there are certain City occupations which seem to enjoy the greater credit the poorer are the material circumstances by which they are surrounded. Turning out of a lane which turns out of Lombard Street, there is a desolate, forlorn-looking, dark alley, which is called Hook Court. The entrance to this alley is beneath the first-floor of one of the houses in the lane, and in passing under this covered way the visitor to the place finds himself in a small paved square court, at the two further corners of which there are two