She was not long unconscious, and presently so far recovered as to know that she was being helped to enter a cab. The cab began to drive off. Then she saw that some one was sitting opposite her. “Who is it?” she asked, trying to command herself, and to see clearly by the light of the street lamps. At the sound of the voice which answered, she started, and, looking again, at length recognised Waymark.
“Do you feel better?” he asked. “Are you able to go on homewards?”
“Quite able,” she answered, leaning back again, and speaking with strange calmness.
“What on earth is the meaning of this?” was Waymark’s next inquiry. “How came you here at this time?”
“Curiosity brought me,” Maud answered, with the same unnatural composure.
“Had you been there long?”
“No; I had asked my way to Litany Lane, and all at once found myself in the crowd.”
“Thank goodness I happened to be by! I had just been looking up a defaulting tenant. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you lying in that doorway. Why didn’t you ask me to come with you, and show you these places?”
“It would have been better,” she said, with her eyes closed. Waymark leaned back. Conversation was difficult in the noise of the vehicle, and for a long time neither spoke.
“I told the man to drive to Edgware Road,” Waymark said then. “Shall he go on to the house?”
“No; I had rather walk the last part.”
They talked brokenly of the Lane and its inhabitants. When at length Maud alighted Waymark offered his arm, and she just laid her hand upon it.
“I have seen dreadful things to-night,” she said, in a voice that still trembled; “seen and heard things that will haunt me.”
“You give too much weight to the impressions of the moment. That world is farther removed from yours than the farthest star; you must forget this glimpse of it.”
“Oh, I fear you do not know me; I do not know myself.”
He made no reply, and, on their coming near to the house, Maud paused.
“Mother’s sending you a note this evening,” she said, as she held out her hand, “to ask you to come on Thursday instead of to-morrow. She will be from home to-morrow night”
“Shall you also be from home?”
“Then may I not come and see you?—Not if it would be troublesome.”
“It would not, at all.”
“It is good of you. I will come.”
THE WILL TO LIVE
Waymark made his way to Paddington at the usual time on the following evening, and found Maud alone. There was agitation in her manner as she welcomed him, and she resumed her seat as if the attitude of rest was needful to her. In reply to his inquiries about her health, she assured him she was well, and that she felt no painful results from the previous evening. Waymark also showed an unusual embarrassment. He stood for some moments by the table, turning over the leaves of a book.