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hour perhaps. When he came back she had slipped on to the couch, was lying in a huddled-up position. For a moment, one awful moment, he thought she was dead, but when he lifted her he saw she had only fainted. He laid her very gently on the sofa and rang for help, glad of her momentary unconsciousness. He knew what he intended to do now, and to what he must try to persuade her. Stevens came and said, unsympathetically enough:

"She's drored her stays too tight. I told her so this morning." But she worked about her effectively and presently she struggled back, seeming to have forgotten for the moment what had stricken her.

"Have I had another heart attack?" she asked feebly.


"I told you you were lacing too tight. I knew what would happen with these new stays and things." She actually smiled at Stevens, a wan little smile.

"I feel rather seedy still."

Peter took the cushion from her, made her lie flat. Then she said in a puzzled way, her mind working slowly:

"Something happened?"

There was little time to be lost and he answered awkwardly, abruptly:

"I brought you bad news."

She shut her eyes and lay still thinking that over.