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fortnight or the last ten days in the month"—
and knew no more.

While we were speaking together, I saw the
man in black, with the large hat, come out from
the house, and stand at some little distance
observing us.

Certain suspicions of his errand at  Blackwater
Park had already crossed my mind.
They were now increased by the gardener's
inability (or unwillingness) to tell me who the
man was; and I determined to clear the way
before me, if possible, by speaking to him. The
plainest question I could put, as a stranger,
would be to inquire if the house was allowed to
be shown to visitors. I walked up to the man
at once, and accosted him in those words.

His look and manner unmistakably betrayed
that he knew who I was, and that he wanted to
irritate me into quarrelling with him. His reply
was insolent enough to have answered the
purpose, if I had been less determined to control
myself. As it was, I met him with the most
resolute politeness; apologised for my involuntary
intrusion (which he called a "trespass"), and
left the grounds. It was exactly as I suspected.
The recognition of me, when I left Mr. Kyrle's
office, had been evidently communicated to Sir
Percival Glyde; and the man in black had been
sent to the park, in anticipation of my making
inquiries at the house, or in the neighbourhood.
If I had given him the least chance of lodging
any sort of legal complaint against me, the
interference of the local magistrate would no
doubt have been turned to account, as a clog on
my proceedings, and a means of separating me
from Marian and Laura for some days at least.

I was prepared to be watched on the way from
Blackwater Park to the station, exactly as I had
been watched, in London, the day before. But
I could not discover at the time, and I have
never found out since, whether I was really
followed on this occasion or not. The man in black
might have had means of tracking me at his
disposal of which I was not awarebut I certainly
saw nothing of him, in his own person, either
on the way to the station, or afterwards on
my arrival at the London terminus, in the
evening. I reached home, on foot; taking the
precaution, before I approached our own door,
of  walking round by the loneliest street in the
neighbourhood, and there stopping and looking
back more than once over the open space behind
me. I had first learnt to use this stratagem
against suspected treachery in the wilds of
Central Americaand now I was practising it again,
with the same purpose and with even greater
caution, in the heart of civilised London!

Nothing had happened to alarm Marian during
my absence. She asked eagerly what success I
had met with. "When I told her, she could not,
conceal her surprise at the indifference with
which I spoke of the failure of my investigations,
thus far.

The truth was, that the ill-success of my
inquiries had in no sense daunted me. I had
pursued them as a matter of duty, and I had
expected nothing from them. In the state of my
mind, at that time, it was almost a relief to me
to know that the struggle was now narrowed to
a trial of strength between myself and Sir
Percival Glyde. The vindictive motive had mingled
itself, all along, with my other and better
motives; and I confess it was a satisfaction to
me to feel that the surest waythe only way
leftof serving Laura's cause, was to fasten
my hold firmly on the villain who had married
her. I acknowledge that I was not strong
enough to keep my motives above the reach of
this instinct of revenge. But I can honestly
say that no base speculation on the future rela-
tions of Laura and myself, and on the private
and personal concessions which I might force
from Sir Percival if I once had him at my
mercy, ever entered my mind. I never said
to myself, " If I do succeed, it shall be one
result of my success that I put it out of her
husband's power to take her from me again." I
could not look at her and think of the future
with such thoughts as those. The sad sight of
the change in her from her former self, made the
one interest of my love an interest of tenderness
and compassion, which her father or her brother
might have felt, and which I felt, God knows,
in my inmost heart. All my hopes looked no
farther on, now, than to the day of her recovery.
There, till she was strong again and happy
again- there, till she could look at me as she
had once looked, and speak to me as she had
once spoken- the future of my happiest thoughts
and my dearest wishes ended.

These words are written under no prompting
of idle self-contemplation. Passages in this
narrative are soon to come, which will set the
minds of others in judgment on my conduct.
It is right that the best and the worst of me
should be fairly balanced, before that time.

On the morning after my return from Hampshire,
I took Marian up-stairs into my working-room ;
and there laid before her the plan that I
had matured, thus far, for mastering the one
assailable point in the life of Sir Percival Glyde.

The way to the Secret lay through the mystery,
hitherto impenetrable to all of us, of the
woman in white. The approach to that, in its
turn, might be gained by obtaining the assistance
of Anne Catherick's mother; and the only
ascertainable means of prevailing on Mrs.
Catherick to act or to speak in the matter,
depended on the chance of my discovering local
particulars and family particulars, first of all,
from Mrs. Clements. I had thought the subject
over carefully; and I felt certain that the new
inquiries could only begin, to any purpose, by my
placing myself in communication with the faithful
friend and protectress of Anne Catherick.

The first difficulty, then, was to find Mrs.

I was indebted to Marian's quick perception
for meeting this necessity at once by the
best and simplest means. She proposed to
write to the farm near Limmeridge (Todd's
Corner), to inquire whether Mrs. Clements had
communicated with Mrs. Todd during the past