Page:Once a Week Volume V.djvu/36

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July 6, 1861.]



The Silver Cord (35).png


Henderson had doubtless expected that the announcement she had to make would produce its natural effect upon Mrs. Lygon. For terror, for bewilderment, and for their commonplace manifestation, the messenger had been prepared, nay, had even had a moment to think of the equally commonplace means of calming another woman’s sudden agitation. But when the girl’s message was fully delivered, and Mrs. Lygon, after her first astonishment, had comprehended the situation of affairs, her excitement took a form which baffled the understanding of her companion. With lips and cheek pale as ashes, Mrs. Lygon resumed the seat from which she had sprung, and gazed steadily upon Henderson.

“This must not be,” said Mrs. Lygon, after a pause. “It must be prevented.”

Henderson could utter only a meaningless exclamation.

“You must come with me to the police,” Mrs. Lygon continued. “Yes, that is the only way. Women can do nothing. Come with me.”

And she hastily sought for hat and scarf.

“All the police in the world would be too late, m’m,” exclaimed Henderson.

“Why do you say so?”

“They are in the house together—they were in the house together before I came away.”

“It may not be too late. I will go. It must not be. it shall not be,” she added, to herself rather than to Henderson, and descended the stair. “He dares not meet Robert Urquhart, unless—. We must walk faster, Mary,” Mrs. Lygon said, impatiently, as they came into the road.

“But I have something more to say, m’m, if you will let me,” said Henderson, keeping pace with the rapid step of Mrs. Lygon.

“When we have seen the police,” said Laura, hastening in the direction of the house where Adair had been conveyed after the affray at Silvain’s, and whence Robert Urquhart had come, with the fatal knowledge that he had used so terribly.

“We shall only lose time, m’m,” said Henderson, despairingly, “but it is no matter. If we hurried to the avenue ourselves—”

“I must not,” said Mrs. Lygon, in a low voice. “But the police-station is in the way there,” she