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No circumstance of the slightest importance
happened on my way to the offices of Messrs.
Gilmore and Kyrle, in Chancery-lane.

While my card was being taken in to Mr.
Kyrle, a consideration occurred to me which I
deeply regretted not having thought of before.
The information derived from Marian's diary
made it a matter of certainty that Count Fosco
had opened her first letter from Blackwater Park
to Mr. Kyrle, and had, by means of his wife,
intercepted the second. He was therefore well
aware of the address of the office; and he would
naturally infer that if Marian wanted advice and
assistance, after Laura's escape from the Asylum,
she would apply once more to the experience of
Mr. Kyrle. In this case, the office in Chancery-
lane was the very first place which he and Sir
Percival would cause to be watched; and, if the
same persons were chosen for the purpose
who had been employed to follow me, before
my departure from England, the fact of my
return would in all probability be ascertained
on that very day. I had thought, generally,
of the chances of my being recognised in
the streets; but the special risk connected
with the office had never occurred to me until
the present moment. It was too late now to
repair this unfortunate error in judgmenttoo
late to wish that I had made arrangements for
meeting the lawyer in some place privately
appointed beforehand. I could only resolve to be
cautious on leaving Chancery-lane, and not to go
straight home again under any circumstances

After waiting a few minutes, I was shown
into Mr. Kyrle's private room. He was a pale,
thin, quiet, self-possessed man, with a very
attentive eye, a very low voice, and a very
undemonstrative manner; not (as I judged) ready with
his sympathy, where strangers were concerned;
and not at all easy to disturb in his professional
composure. A better man for my purpose could
hardly have been found. If he committed himself
to a decision at all, and if the decision was
favourable, the strength of our case was as good
as proved from that moment.

"Before I enter on the business which brings
me here," I said, "I ought to warn you, Mr.
Kyrle, that the shortest statement I can make
of it may occupy some little time."

"My time is at Miss Halcombe's disposal,"
he replied. "Where any interests of hers are
concerned, I represent my partner personally as
well as professionally. It was his request that
I should do so, when he ceased to take an active
part in business."

"May I inquire whether Mr. Gilmore is in

"He is not: he is living with his relatives
in Germany. His health has improved, but the
period of his return is still uncertain."

While we were exchanging these few
preliminary words, he had been searching among
the papers before him, and he now produced
from them a sealed letter. I thought he
was about to hand the letter to me; but,
apparently changing his mind, he placed it by
itself on the table, settled himself in his chair, and
silently waited to hear what I had to say.

Without wasting a moment in prefatory words
of any sort, I entered on my narrative, and put
him in full possession of the events which have
already been related in these pages.

Lawyer as he was to the very marrow of his
bones, I startled him out of his professional
composure. Expressions of incredulity and
surprise, which he could not repress, interrupted
me several times, before I had done. I
persevered, however, to the end, and, as soon as I
reached it, boldly asked the one important

"What is your opinion, Mr. Kyrle?"

He was too cautious to commit himself to an
answer, without taking time to recover his self-
possession first.

"Before I give my opinion," he said," I must
beg permission to clear the ground by a few

He put the questionssharp, suspicious,
unbelieving questions, which clearly showed me,
as they proceeded, that he thought I was the
victim of a delusion; and that he might even
have doubted, but for my introduction to him
by Miss Halcombe, whether I was not attempting
the perpetration of a cunningly-designed

"Do you believe that I have spoken the
truth, Mr. Kyrle?" I asked, when he had done
examining me.

"So far as your own convictions are
concerned, I am certain you have spoken the truth,"

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