“I’ll tell you. It’s because he loves me more than anything else in the world. And, therefore, I’m safe,” she declared proudly.
MAVIS GOES TO MELKBRIDGE
On the following Sunday fortnight, Mavis left the train at Dippenham quite late in the evening. She purposed driving with her baby and Jill in a fly the seven miles necessary to take her to Melkbridge. She choose this means of locomotion in order to secure the privacy which might not be hers if she took the train to her destination.
During the last few days, her boy had not enjoyed his usual health; he had lost appetite and could not sleep for any length of time. Mavis believed the stuffy atmosphere of Pimlico to be responsible for her baby’s ailing; she had great hopes of the Melkbridge air effecting an improvement in his health.
She had travelled down in a reserved first-class compartment, which Windebank, who had seen her off at Paddington, had secured. He had only been a few minutes on the platform, as he had to catch the boat train at Charing Cross, he being due at Breslau the following day, to witness the German army manoeuvres on a special commission from the War Office.
Mavis had seen much of him during her stay at Mrs Taylor’s. At all times, he had urged upon Mavis the inadvisability of going to Melkbridge. He was so against this contemplated proceeding that he had vainly offered to settle money on her if only it would induce her to forego her intention. Miss Toombs had by letter joined her entreaties to Windebank’s. She pointed out that if Mavis brought her child to Melkbridge, as she purposed doing, it was pretty certain that its identity would be discovered. But Windebank pleaded and Miss Toombs wrote to no purpose. Before Windebank had said good-bye at Paddington, he again made Mavis promise that she would not hesitate to communicate at once with him should she meet with further trouble.
The gravity with which he made this request awakened disquiet in her mind, which diminished as her proximity to Melkbridge increased. Impatient to lessen the distance that separated her from her destination, she quickly selected a fly. A porter helped the driver with her luggage; she settled herself with her baby and Jill, and very soon they were lumbering down the ill-paved street. Her mind was so intent on the fact of her increasing nearness to the loved one, that she gave but a passing remembrance to the occasion of her last visit to Dippenham, when she had met Perigal after letting him know that she was about to become a mother. Her eyes strained eagerly from the window of the fly in the direction of Melkbridge. She was blind, deaf, indifferent to anything, other than her approaching meeting with her lover, which she was sure could not long be delayed now she had come to live so near his home. She was to lodge with her old friend Mrs Trivett, who had moved into a cottage on the Broughton Road.