And Jack was in love with me too. This was a curious result of my voyage to Canada in search of Dr. Ivor! Instead of hunting up the criminal, I had stopped to fall in love with one of his friends and neighbours. And I found it so delicious: I won’t pretend to deny it. I was absolutely happy when Jack sat by my bedside and held my hand in his. I didn’t know what it would lead to, or whether it would ever lead to anything at all; but I was happy meanwhile just to love and be loved by him. I think when you’re really in love, that’s quite enough. Jack never proposed to me: he never asked me to marry him. He just sat by my bedside and held my hand; and once, when Elsie went out to fetch my beef-tea, he stooped hastily down and kissed, me, oh, so tenderly! I don’t know why, but I wasn’t the least surprised. It seemed to me quite natural that Jack should kiss me.
So I went idly on for a fortnight, in a sort of lazy lotus-land, never thinking of the future, but as happy and as much at home as if I’d lived all my life with Jack and Elsie. I hated even to think I would soon be well; for then I’d have to go and look out for Courtenay Ivor.
At last one afternoon I was sufficiently strong to be lifted out of bed, and dressed in a morning robe, and laid out on the sofa in the little drawing-room. It looked out upon the verandah, which was high above the ground; and Jack came in and sat with me, alone without Elsie. My heart throbbed high at that: I liked to be alone for half-an-hour with Jack. Perhaps... But who knows? Well, at any rate, even if he didn’t, it was nice to have the chance of a good long, quiet chat with him. I loved Elsie dearly; but at a moment like this, why, I liked to have Jack all to myself without even Elsie.
So I was pleased when Jack told me Elsie was going into Palmyra with the buggy to get the English letters. Then she’d be gone a good long time! Oh, how lovely! How beautiful!
“Is there anything you’d like from the town?” he asked, as Elsie drove past the window. “Anything Elsie could get for you? If so, please say so.”
I hesitated a moment.
“Do you think,” I asked at last, for I didn’t want to be troublesome, “she could get me a lemon?”
“Oh, certainly,” Jack answered; “there she goes in the buggy! Here, wait a moment, Una! I’ll run after her to the gate this minute and tell her.”
He sprang lightly on to the parapet of the verandah. Then, with one hand held behind him to poise himself, palm open backward, he leapt with a bound to the road, and darted after her hurriedly.
My heart stood still within me. That action revealed him. The back, the open hand, the gesture, the bend—I would have known them anywhere. With a horrible revulsion I recognised the truth. This was my father’s murderer! This was Courtenay Ivor!
MURDER WILL OUT