The talk with Father Cruse, while it had calmed and, to a certain extent, reassured Felix, had not in any way swerved him from his determination to find his wife at any cost.
The only change he made in his plans was one of locality. Heretofore, with the exception of his visits to Stephen—long since discontinued now that he feared she was an outcast—he had mingled with the throngs crowding the Great White Way ablaze with light or had haunted the doors of the popular theatres and expensive restaurants, and the waiting-rooms of the more fashionable hotels. After this it must be the byways, places where the poor or worse would congregate: cheap eating-houses; barrooms, with so-called “family rooms” attached; and always the streets at a distance from those trodden by the rich and prosperous classes. Father Cruse might have been right in his diagnosis, and the sleeve-button might form but a minor link in the chain of events circling the problem to the solution of which he had again consecrated his life, but certain it was that the clew Kitty had discovered had only strengthened his own convictions. If the woman whom Kitty had picked up some months before, and put to bed, were not his wife, she must certainly have been near her person; which still meant not only poverty but the possibility of Dalton’s having abandoned her. Possibly, too, this woman, whose outside garments had contrasted so strangely with her more sumptuous underwear, might have been an inmate of the same house in which his wife was living—some one, perhaps, in whom his wife had had confidence. Perhaps —no! That was impossible. Whatever the depths of suffering into which his wife had fallen, she had not yet reached the pit—of that he was convinced. If he were mistaken—at the thought his fingers tightened, and his heavy eyebrows and thin, drawn lips became two parallel straight lines—then he would know exactly what to do.