“Shut the door! Shut it, I say!”
Cecil took a quick step forward. Before he could reach the door, however, the girl had thrown her arms round his waist.
“You shall not close it,” she cried.
“Who is it coming?” Cecil cried panting.
“God knows!” she answered. “They say the ghosts walk here.”
He strove to loosen himself from her grasp, but he was powerless. Nevertheless he got a little nearer to the door. Forrest came swiftly across the room. Engleton struck at him with a chair, but the blow was harmless.
“Stand aside, Cecil,” Forrest said. “I’ll close it.”
“I’m hanged if you will,” was the sudden reply.
Andrew de la Borne stepped out of the darkness and stood upright, blinking and looking around in amazement.
Jeanne was sitting in the garden of the Caynsard farm. The excitement of the last twenty-four hours had left her languid. For once she lay and watched with idle, almost with indifferent eyes, the great stretch of marshes riven with the incoming sea. She saw the fishing boats that a few hours ago were dead inert things upon a bed of mud, come gliding up the tortuous water-ways. On the horizon was the sea bank, with its long line of poles, and the wires connecting the coastguard stations. They stood like silent sentinels, clean and distinct against the empty background. Jeanne sighed as she watched, and the thoughts came crowding into her head. It was a restful country this, a country of timeworn, mouldering grey churches, and of immemorial landmarks, a country where everything seemed fixed and restful, everything except the sea. A wave of self pity swept over her. After all she had lived a very little time to know so much unhappiness. Worse than all, this morning she was filled with apprehensions. She feared something. She scarcely knew what, or from what direction it might come. The song of the larks brought her no comfort. The familiar and beautiful places upon which she looked pleased her no more. She was glad when Kate Caynsard came out of the house and moved slowly towards her.
Kate, too, showed some of the signs of the recent excitement. There were black lines under her wonderful eyes, and she walked hesitatingly, without any of the firm splendid grace which made her movements a delight to watch. Jeanne was afraid at first that she was going to turn away, and called to her.
“Kate,” she exclaimed, “I want you. Come here and talk to me.”
Kate threw herself on to the ground by Jeanne’s side.
“All the talking in the world,” she murmured, “will not change the things that happened last night. They will not even smooth away the evil memories.”
Jeanne was silent. There was a thought in her head which had been there twisting and biting its way in her brain through the silent hours of the night and again in her waking moments. She looked down towards her companion stretched at her feet.