“You went to Torquay, dear,” she said in a very slow voice, “in the spring of the same year your poor father was killed: that’s more than four years ago. The Willie Moores live at Torquay, and several more of your cousins. You went to stop with Willie’s wife, and you stayed five weeks. I don’t know whether you ever went over to Berry Pomeroy. You may have, and you mayn’t: it’s within an easy driving distance. Minnie Moore has often written to ask me whether you could go there again; Minnie was always fond of you, and thinks you’d remember her: but I’ve been afraid to allow you, for fear it should recall sad scenes. She’s about your own age, Minnie is; and she’s a daughter of Willie Moore, who’s my own first cousin, and of course your dear mother’s.”
I never hesitated a moment. I was strung up too tightly by that time.
“Auntie dear,” I said quietly, “I go to-morrow to Torquay. I must know all now. I must hunt up these people.”
Auntie knew from my tone it was no use trying to stand in my way any longer.
“Very well, dear,” she said resignedly. “I don’t believe it’s good for you: but you must do as you like. You have your father’s will, Una. You were always headstrong.”
THE VISION RECURS
I hated asking auntie questions, they seemed to worry and distress her so; but that evening, in view of my projected visit to Torquay, I was obliged to cross-examine her rather closely about many things. I wanted to know about my Torquay relations, and as far as possible about my mother’s family. In the end I learned that the Willie Moores were cousins of ours on my mother’s side who had never quarrelled with my father, like Aunt Emma, and through whom alone accordingly, in the days of my First State, Aunt Emma was able to learn anything about me. They had a house at Torquay, and connections all around; for the Moores were Devonshire people. Aunt Emma was very anxious, if I went down there at all, I should stop with Mrs. Moore: for Minnie would be so grieved, she said, if I went to an hotel or took private lodgings. But I wouldn’t hear of that myself. I knew nothing of the Moores—in my present condition—and I didn’t like to trust myself in the hands of those who to me were perfect strangers. So I decided on going to the Imperial Hotel, and calling on the Moores quietly to pursue my investigation.
Another question I asked in the course of the evening. I had wondered about it often, and now, in these last straits, curiosity overcame me.
“Aunt Emma,” I said unexpectedly after a pause, without one word of introduction, “how ever did you get those scars on your hand? You’ve never told me.”
In a moment, Aunt Emma blushed suddenly crimson like a girl of eighteen.
“Una,” she answered very gravely, in a low strange tone, “oh, don’t ask me about that, dear. Don’t ask me about that. You could never understand it.... I got them... in climbing over a high stone wall... a high stone wall, with bits of glass stuck on top of it.”