“You are not fond of Mrs. Unthank?” he enquired anxiously.
“I don’t think so,” she answered, in a perplexed tone. “I think I am very much afraid of her. But it is no use, Everard! She would never go away.”
“When I return,” Dominey said, “we shall see.”
She took his arm and linked her hands through it.
“I am so sorry that you are going,” she murmured. “I hope you will soon come back. Will you come back—my husband?”
Dominey’s nails cut into the flesh of his clenched hands.
“I will come back within three days,” he promised.
“Do you know,” she went on confidentially, “something has come into my mind lately. I spoke about it yesterday, but I did not tell you what it was. You need never be afraid of me any more. I understand.”
“What do you understand?” he demanded huskily.
“The knowledge must have come to me,” she went on, dropping her voice a little and whispering almost in his ear, “at the very moment when my dagger rested upon your throat, when I suddenly felt the desire to kill die away. You are very like him sometimes, but you are not Everard. You are not my husband at all. You are another man.”
Dominey gave a little gasp. They both turned towards the door. Mrs. Unthank was standing there, her gaunt, hard face lit up with a gleam of something which was like triumph, her eyes glittering. Her lips, as though involuntarily, repeated her mistress’ last words.
There were times during their rapid journey when Seaman, studying his companion, became thoughtful. Dominey seemed, indeed, to have passed beyond the boundaries of any ordinary reserve, to have become like a man immeshed in the toils of a past so absorbing that he moved as though in a dream, speaking only when necessary and comporting himself generally like one to whom all externals have lost significance. As they embarked upon the final stage of their travels, Seaman leaned forward in his seat in the sombrely upholstered, overheated compartment.
“Your home-coming seems to depress you, Von Ragastein,” he said.
“It was not my intention,” Dominey replied, “to set foot in Germany again for many years.”
“The past still bites?”
The train sped on through long chains of vineyard-covered hills, out into a stretch of flat country, into forests of pines, in the midst of which were great cleared spaces, where, notwithstanding the closely drawn windows, the resinous odour from the fallen trunks seemed to permeate the compartment. Presently they slackened speed. Seaman glanced at his watch and rose.
“Prepare yourself, my friend,” he said. “We descend in a few minutes.”
Dominey glanced out of the window.
“But where are we?” he enquired.
“Within five minutes of our destination.”