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NOT a word more was said, on either side, as
we walked back to the house. Miss Halcombe
hastened immediately to her sister's room; and
I withdrew to my studio to set in order all of
Mr. Fairlie's drawings that I had not yet mounted
and restored before I resigned them to the
care of other hands. Thoughts that I had
hitherto restrained, thoughts that made my
position harder than ever to endure, crowded on
me now that I was alone.

She was engaged to be married; and her
future husband was Sir Percival Glyde. A man
of the rank of baronet, and the owner of
property in Hampshire.

There were hundreds of baronets in England,
and dozens of landowners in Hampshire. Judging
by the ordinary rules of evidence, I had not
the shadow of a reason, thus far, for connecting
Sir Percival Glyde with the suspicious words of
inquiry that had been spoken to me by the
woman in white. And yet, I did connect him
with them. Was it because he had now
become associated in my mind with Miss Fairlie;
Miss Fairlie being in her turn, associated with
Anne Catherick, since the night when I had
discovered the ominous likeness between them?
Had the events of the morning so unnerved me
already that I was at the mercy of any delusion
which common chances and common coincidences
might suggest to my imagination? Impossible
to say. I could only feel that what had passed
between Miss Halcombe and myself, on our way
from the summer-house, had affected me very
strangely. The foreboding of some undiscoverable
danger lying hid from us all in the darkness of
the future, was strong on me. The doubt
whether I was not linked already to a chain of
events which even my approaching departure
from Cumberland would be powerless to snap
asunderthe doubt whether we any of us saw
the end as the end would really begathered
more and more darkly over my mind. Poignant
as it was, the sense of suffering caused by
the miserable end of my brief, presumptuous
love, seemed to be blunted and deadened by the
still stronger sense of something obscurely
impending, something invisibly threatening, that
Time was holding over our heads.

I had been engaged with the drawings little
more than half an hour, when there was a knock
at the door. It opened, on my answering; and,
to my surprise, Miss Halcombe entered the

Her manner was angry and agitated. She
caught up a chair for herself, before I could
give her one; and sat down in it, close at my

"Mr. Hartright," she said, "I had hoped
that all painful subjects of conversation were
exhausted between us, for to-day at least. But it
is not to be so. There is some underhand
villany at work to frighten my sister about her
approaching marriage. You saw me send the
gardener on to the house, with a letter
addressed, in a strange handwriting, to Miss


"That letter is an anonymous lettera vile
attempt to injure Sir Percival Glyde in my
sister's estimation. It has so agitated and
alarmed her that I have had the greatest possible
difficulty in composing her spirits sufficiently to
allow me to leave her room and come here. I
know this is a family matter on which I ought
not to consult you, and in which you can feel
no concern or interest——"

"I beg your pardon, Miss Halcombe. I feel
the strongest possible concern and  interest in
anything that affects Miss Fairlie's happiness or

"I am glad to hear you say so. You are the
only person in the house, or out of it, who can
advise me. Mr. Fairlie, in his state of health
and with his horror of difficulties and mysteries
of all kinds, is not to be thought of. The
clergyman is a good, weak man, who knows
nothing out of the routine of his duties; and
our neighbours are just the sort of comfortable,
jog-trot acquaintances whom one cannot disturb
in times of trouble and danger. What I want
to know is this: ought I, at once, to take such
steps as I can to discover the writer of the
letter? or ought I to wait, and apply to Mr.
Fairlie's legal adviser to-morrow? It is a
questionperhaps a very importantone of gaining
or losing a day. Tell me what you think, Mr.
Hartright. If necessity had not already obliged
me to take you into my confidence under very
delicate circumstances, even my helpless situation
would, perhaps, be no excuse for me. But,
as things are, I cannot surely be wrong, after