The next day all Broxton knew the story.
"Well, he wur na so soft after aw," more than one excellent matron remarked.
Mr. Ffrench heard the news from his valet in the morning. He had been very unwell for several days. He had eaten nothing and slept very little and had been obliged to call in his physician, who pronounced his case the result of too great mental strain, and prescribed rest. He came down to breakfast with an unwholesome face and trifled with his food without eating it. He glanced furtively at Rachel again and again.
"I shall not go to the Bank to-day," he said timorously at last. "I am worse than ever. I shall remain at home and try to write letters and rest. Are—are you going out?"
"Yes," she answered.
"Oh." Then, after a pause, he said, "I saw Briarley yesterday, and he said Mrs. Dixon was very ill. You sometimes go there, I believe?"
"Suppose—suppose you call this morning to inquire. It looks well to show a—a sort of interest in them. You might take something nourishing with you."
He flinched when she raised her eyes and let them rest