No Name/Between the Scenes 5/I
BETWEEN THE SCENES.
PROGRESS OF THE STORY THROUGH THE POST.
From Mrs. Noel Vanstone to Mr. Loscombe.
"Park Terrace, St. John's Wood, November 5th.
"DEAR SIR—I came to London yesterday for the purpose of seeing a relative, leaving Mr. Vanstone at Baliol Cottage, and proposing to return to him in the course of the week. I reached London late last night, and drove to these lodgings, having written to secure accommodation beforehand.
"This morning's post has brought me a letter from my own maid, whom I left at Baliol Cottage, with instructions to write to me if anything extraordinary took place in my absence. You will find the girl's letter inclosed in this. I have had some experience of her; and I believe she is to be strictly depended on to tell the truth.
"I purposely abstain from troubling you by any useless allusions to myself. When you have read my maid's letter, you will understand the shock which the news contained in it has caused me. I can only repeat that I place implicit belief in her statement. I am firmly persuaded that my husband's former housekeeper has found him out, has practiced on his weakness in my absence, and has prevailed on him to make another Will. From what I know of this woman, I feel no doubt that she has used her influence over Mr. Vanstone to deprive me, if possible, of all future interests in my husband's fortune.
"Under such circumstances as these, it is in the last degree important—for more reasons than I need mention here—that I should see Mr. Vanstone, and come to an explanation with him, at the earliest possible opportunity. You will find that my maid thoughtfully kept her letter open until the last moment before post-time—without, however, having any later news to give me than that Mrs. Lecount was to sleep at the cottage last night and that she and Mr. Vanstone were to leave together this morning. But for that last piece of intelligence, I should have been on my way back to Scotland before now. As it is, I cannot decide for myself what I ought to do next. My going back to Dumfries, after Mr. Vanstone has left it, seems like taking a journey for nothing —and my staying in London appears to be almost equally useless.
"Will you kindly advise me in this difficulty? I will come to you at Lincoln's Inn at any time this afternoon or to-morrow which you may appoint. My next few hours are engaged. As soon as this letter is dispatched, I am going to Kensington, with the object of ascertaining whether certain doubts I feel about the means by which Mrs. Lecount may have accomplished her discovery are well founded or not. If you will let me have your answer by return of post, I will not fail to get back to St. John's Wood in time to receive it. Believe me, dear sir, yours sincerely,