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house your wife lodged at in London- it was
opposite our house in Vauxhall Walk. I have
laid my hand on one of the landlady's daughters,
who watched your wife from an inner room, and
saw her put on the disguise; who can speak to
her identity, and to the identity of her companion,
Mrs. Bygrave; and who has furnished me, at my
own request, with a written statement of facts,
which she is ready to affirm on oath, if any person
ventures to contradict her. You shall read the
statement, Mr. Noel, if you like, when you are
fitter to understand it. You shall also read a
letter in the handwriting of Miss Garth- who
will repeat to you personally, if you like, what
she has written to me- a letter formally denying
that she was ever in Vauxhall Walk, and formally
asserting that those moles on your wife's neck, are
marks peculiar to Miss Magdalen Vanstone, whom
she has known from childhood. I say it with a
just pride- you will find no weak place anywhere
in the evidence which I bring you. If Mr. Bygrave
had not stolen my letter, you would have had your
warning, before I was cruelly deceived into going
to Zurich; and the proofs which I now bring you,
after your marriage, I should then have offered
to you before it. Don't hold me responsible, sir,
for what has happened since I left England.
Blame your uncle's bastard daughter, and blame
that villain with the brown eye and the green!"

She spoke her last venomous words as slowly
and distinctly as she had spoken all the rest.
Noel Yanstone made no answer- he still sat
cowering over the fire. She looked round into
his face. He was crying silently. " I was so
fond of her!" said the miserable little creature;
"and I thought she was so fond of Me!"

Mrs. Lecount turned her back on him in
disdainful silence. " Fond of her!"  As she repeated
those words to herself, her haggard face became
almost handsome again in the magnificent
intensity of its contempt.

She walked to a bookcase at the lower end of
the room, and began examining the volumes in
it. Before she had been long engaged in this
way, she was startled by the sound of his voice,
affrightedly calling her back. The tears were
gone from his face: it was blank again with
terror when he now turned it towards her.

"Lecount!" he said, holding to her with both
hands. "Can an egg be poisoned? I  had an
egg for breakfast this morning- and a little

"Make your mind easy, sir," said Mrs.
Lecount. "The poison of your wife's deceit, is
the only poison you have taken yet. If she had
resolved already on making you pay the price of
your folly with your life, she would not be
absent from the house while you were left living
in it. Dismiss the thought from your mind. It
is the middle of the day; you want refreshment.
I have more to say to you, in the interests of
your own safety-I have something for you to
do, which must be done at once. Recruit your
strength, and you will do it. I will set you the
example of eating, if you still distrust the food
in this house. Are you composed enough to give
the servant her orders, if I ring the bell? It is
necessary to the object I have in view for you,
that nobody should think you ill in body, or
troubled in mind. Try first with me before the
servant comes in. Let us see how you look and
speak, when you say, " Bring up the lunch."

After two rehearsals, Mrs. Lecount considered
him fit to give the order, without betraying

The bell was answered by Louisa-Louisa
looked hard at Mrs. Lecount. The luncheon was
brought up by the housemaid-the housemaid
looked hard at Mrs. Lecount. When luncheon
was over, the table was cleared by the cook-the
cook looked hard at Mrs. Lecount. The three
servants were plainly suspicious that something
extraordinary was going on in the house. It was
hardly possible to doubt that they had arranged
to share among themselves the three
opportunities which the service of the table afforded
them of entering the room.

The curiosity of which she was the object did
not escape the penetration of Mrs. Lecount.
"I did well," she thought, "to arm myself in
good time with the means of reaching my end.
If I let the grass grow under my feet, one or other
of those women might get in my way." Roused
by this consideration, she produced her travelling-
bag from a corner, as soon as the last of the
servants had left the room; and seating herself
at the end of the table opposite Noel Vanstone,
looked at him for a moment, with a steady
investigating attention. She had carefully
regulated the quantity of wine which he had taken
at luncheon- she had let him drink exactly
enough to fortify, without confusing him-and
she now examined his face critically, like an
artist examining his picture, at the end of the
day's work. The result appeared to satisfy her;
and she opened the serious business of the
interview on the spot.

Will you look at the written evidence I
mentioned to you, Mr. Noel, before I say any
more?" she inquired. " Or are you sufficiently
persuaded of the truth to proceed at once to the
suggestion which I have now to make to you?"

"Let me hear your suggestion," he said,
sullenly resting his elbows on the table, and leaning
his head on his hands.

Mrs. Lecount took from her travelling-bag
the written evidence to which she had just
alluded, and carefully placed the papers on one
side of him, within easy reach, if he wished to
refer to them. Far from being daunted, she was
visibly encouraged by the ungraciousness of his
manner. Her experience of him informed her
that the sign was a promising one. On those
rare occasions when the little resolution that he
possessed was roused in him, it invariably asserted
itself-like the resolution of most other weak
men- aggressively. At such times, in proportion
as he was outwardly sullen and discourteous to
those about him, his resolution rose; and in
proportion as he was considerate and polite, it fell.