ostracised from society, and his table, which used to be piled up with invitations, soon became quite bare. Of course, he knew he could force Meddlechip to recognise him, but he did not choose to do so, as all his thoughts were fixed on America. He had plenty of money, and with a new name and a brand new character, Vandeloup thought he would prosper exceedingly well in the States. So he stayed at home, not caring to face the stony faces of friends who cut him, and waited for the trial of Kitty Marchurst, after which he intended to leave for Sydney at once, and take the next steamer to San Francisco. He did not mind waiting, but amused himself reading, smoking, and playing, and was quite independent of Melbourne society. Only two things worried him, and the first of these was the annoyance of Pierre Lemaire, who seemed to have divined his intention of going away, and haunted him day and night like an unquiet spirit. Whenever Vandeloup looked out, he saw the dumb man watching the house, and if he went for a walk, Pierre would slouch sullenly along behind him, as he had done in the early days. Vandeloup could have called in the aid of a policeman to rid himself of this annoyance, but the fact was he was afraid of offending Pierre, as he might be tempted to reveal what he knew, and the result would not be pleasant. So Gaston bore patiently with the disagreeable system of espionage the dumb man kept over him, and consoled himself with the idea that once he was on his way to America, it would not matter two straws whether Pierre told all he knew, or kept silent. The other thing which troubled the young man were the words Kitty had made use of in Mrs Villiers’ drawing-room regarding the secret she said she knew. It made him uneasy, for he half guessed what it was, and thought she might tell it to someone out of revenge, and then there would be more troubles for him to get out of. Then, again, he argued that she was too fond of him ever to tell anything likely to injure him, even though he had put a rope round her neck. If he could have settled the whole affair by running away, he would have done so, but Gollipeck was still in Melbourne, and Gaston knew he could not leave the town without the terrible old man finding it out, and bringing him back. At last the torture of wondering how much Kitty knew was too much for him, and he determined to go to the Melbourne gaol and interview her. So he obtained an order from the authorities to see her, and prepared to start next morning. He sent the servant out for a hansom, and by the time it was at the door, M. Vandeloup, cool, calm, and well dressed, came down stairs pulling on his gloves. The first thing he saw when he got outside was Pierre waiting for him with his old hat pulled down over his eyes, and his look of sullen resignation. Gaston nodded coolly to him, and told the cabby he wanted to go to the Melbourne gaol, whereupon Pierre slouched forward as the young man was preparing to enter the cab, and laid his hand on his arm.