A Rock in the Baltic by Robert Barr
Chapter I. The Incident at the Bank
In the public room of the Sixth National Bank at Bar Harbor in Maine, Lieutenant Alan Drummond, H.M.S. "Consternation," stood aside to give precedence to a lady. The Lieutenant had visited the bank for the purpose of changing several crisp white Bank of England notes into the currency of the country he was then visiting. The lady did not appear to notice either his courtesy or his presence, and this was the more remarkable since Drummond was a young man sufficiently conspicuous even in a crowd, and he and she were, at that moment, the only customers in the bank. He was tall, well-knit and stalwart, blond as a Scandinavian, with dark blue eyes which he sometimes said jocularly were the colors of his university. He had been slowly approaching the cashier's window with the easy movement of a man never in a hurry, when the girl appeared at the door, and advanced rapidly to the bank counter with its brass wire screen surrounding the arched aperture behind which stood the cashier. Although very plainly attired, her gown nevertheless possessed a charm of simplicity that almost suggested complex Paris, and she wore it with that air of distinction the secret of which is supposed to be the exclusive property of French and American women.
The young man saw nothing of this, and although he appreciated the beauty of the girl, what struck him at that instant was the expression of anxiety on her face, whose apparently temporary pallor was accentuated by an abundance of dark hair. It seemed to him that she had resolutely set herself a task which she was most reluctant to perform. From the moment she entered the door her large, dark eyes were fixed almost appealingly on the cashier, and they beheld nothing else. Drummond, mentally slow as he usually was, came to the quick conclusion that this was a supreme moment in her life, on which perhaps great issues depended. He saw her left hand grasp the corner of the ledge in front of the cashier with a grip of nervous tension, as if the support thus attained was necessary to her. Her right hand trembled slightly as she passed an oblong slip of paper through the aperture to the calm and indifferent official.
"Will you give me the money for this check?" she asked in a low voice.
The cashier scrutinized the document for some time in silence. The signature appeared unfamiliar to him.
"One moment, madam," he said quietly, and retired to a desk in the back part of the bank, where he opened a huge book, turned over some leaves rapidly, and ran his finger down a page. His dilatory action seemed to increase the young woman's panic. Her pallor increased, and she swayed slightly, as if in danger of falling, but brought her right hand to the assistance of the left, and so steadied herself against the ledge of the cashier's counter.
"By Jove!" said the Lieutenant to himself, "there's something wrong here. I wonder what it is. Such a pretty girl, too!"
The cashier behind his screen saw nothing of this play of the emotions. He returned nonchalantly to his station, and asked, in commonplace tones:
"How will you have the money, madam?"
"Gold, if you please," she replied almost in a whisper, a rosy flush chasing the whiteness from her face, while a deep sigh marked the passing of a crisis.
At this juncture an extraordinary thing happened. The cashier counted out some golden coins, and passed them through the aperture toward their new owner.
"Thank you," said the girl. Then, without touching the money, she turned like one hypnotized, her unseeing eyes still taking no heed of the big Lieutenant, and passed rapidly out of the bank, The cashier paid no regard to this abandonment of treasure. He was writing some hieroglyphics on the cashed check.
"By Jove!" gasped the Lieutenant aloud, springing forward as he spoke, sweeping the coins into his hand, and bolting for the door. This was an action which would have awakened the most negligent cashier had he been in a trance. Automatically he whisked out a revolver which lay in an open drawer under his hand.
"Stop, you scoundrel, or I fire!" he shouted, but the Lieutenant had already disappeared. Quick as thought the cashier darted into the passage, and without waiting to unfasten the low door which separated the public and private rooms of the bank, leaped over it, and, bareheaded, gave chase. A British naval officer in uniform, rapidly overtaking a young woman, quite unconscious of his approach, followed by an excited, bareheaded man with a revolver in his grasp, was a sight which would quickly have collected a crowd almost anywhere, but it happened to be the lunch hour, and the inhabitants of that famous summer resort were in-doors; thus, fortunately, the street was deserted. The naval officer was there because the hour of the midday meal on board the cruiser did not coincide with lunch time on shore. The girl was there because it happened to be the only portion of the day when she could withdraw unobserved from the house in which she lived, during banking hours, to try her little agitating financial experiment. The cashier was there because the bank had no lunch hour, and because he had just witnessed the most suspicious circumstance that his constantly alert eye had ever beheld. Calm and imperturbable as a bank cashier may appear to the outside public, he is a man under constant strain during business hours. Each person with whom he is unacquainted that confronts him at his post is a possible robber who at any moment may attempt, either by violence or chicanery, to filch the treasure he guards. The happening of any event outside the usual routine at once arouses a cashier's distrust, and this sudden flight of a stranger with money which did not belong to him quite justified the perturbation of the cashier. From that point onward, innocence of conduct or explanation so explicit as to satisfy any ordinary man, becomes evidence of more subtle guilt to the mind of a bank official. The ordinary citizen, seeing the Lieutenant finally overtake and accost the hurrying girl, raise his cap, then pour into her outstretched hand the gold he had taken, would have known at once that here was an every-day exercise of natural politeness. Not so the cashier. The farther he got from the bank, the more poignantly did he realize that these two in front, both strangers to him, had, by their combined action, lured him, pistol and all, away from his post during the dullest hour of the day. It was not the decamping with those few pieces of gold which now troubled him: it was fear of what might be going on behind him. He was positive that these two had acted in conjunction. The uniform worn by the man did not impose upon him. Any thief could easily come by a uniform, and, as his mind glanced rapidly backwards over the various points of the scheme, he saw how effectual the plan was: first, the incredible remissness of the woman in leaving her gold on the counter; second, the impetuous disappearance of the man with the money; and, third, his own heedless plunge into the street after them. He saw the whole plot in a flash: he had literally leaped into the trap, and during his five or ten minutes' absence, the accomplices of the pair might have overawed the unarmed clerks, and walked off with the treasure. His cash drawer was unlocked, and even the big safe stood wide open. Surprise had as effectually lured him away as if he had been a country bumpkin. Bitterly and breathlessly did he curse his own precipitancy. His duty was to guard the bank, yet it had not been the bank that was robbed, but, at best a careless woman who had failed to pick up her money. He held the check for it, and the loss, if any, was hers, not the bank's, yet here he was, running bareheaded down the street like a fool, and now those two stood quite calmly together, he handing her the money, and thus spreading a mantle of innocence over the vile trick. But whatever was happening in the bank, he would secure two of the culprits at least. The two, quite oblivious of the danger that threatened them, were somewhat startled by a panting man, trembling with rage, bareheaded, and flourishing a deadly weapon, sweeping down upon them.
"Come back to the bank instantly, you two!" he shouted.
"Why?" asked the Lieutenant in a quiet voice.
"Because I say so, for one thing."
"That reason is unanswerable," replied the Lieutenant with a slight laugh, which further exasperated his opponent. "I think you are exciting yourself unnecessarily. May I beg you to put that pistol in your pocket? On the cruiser we always cover up the guns when ladies honor us with their presence. You wish me to return because I had no authority for taking the money? Right: come along."
The cashier regarded this as bluff, and an attempt to give the woman opportunity to escape.
"You must come back also," he said to the girl.
"I'd rather not," she pleaded in a low voice, and it was hardly possible to have made a more injudicious remark if she had taken the whole afternoon to prepare.
Renewed determination shone from the face of the cashier.
"You must come back to the bank," he reiterated.
"Oh, I say," protested the Lieutenant, "you are now exceeding your authority. I alone am the culprit. The young lady is quite blameless, and you have no right to detain her for a moment."
The girl, who had been edging away and showing signs of flight, which the bareheaded man, visibly on the alert, leaned forward ready to intercept, seemed to make up her mind to bow to the inevitable. Ignoring the cashier, she looked up at the blond Lieutenant with a slight smile on her pretty lips.
"It was really all my fault at the beginning," she said, "and very stupid of me. I am slightly acquainted with the bank manager, and I am sure he will vouch for me, if he is there."
With that she turned and walked briskly toward the bank, at so rapid a pace as to indicate that she did not wish an escort. The bareheaded official found his anger unaccountably deserting him, while a great fear that he had put his foot in it took its place.
"Really," said the Lieutenant gently, as they strode along together, "an official in your position should be a good judge of human nature. How any sane person, especially a young man, can look at that beautiful girl and suspect her of evil, passes my comprehension. Do you know her?"
"No," said the cashier shortly. "Do you?"
The Lieutenant laughed genially.
"Still suspicious, eh?" he asked. "No, I don't know her, but to use a banking term, you may bet your bottom dollar I'm going to. Indeed, I am rather grateful to you for your stubbornness in forcing us to return. It's a quality I like, and you possess it in marvelous development, so I intend to stand by you when the managerial censure is due. I'm very certain I met your manager at the dinner they gave us last night. Mr. Morton, isn't he?"
"Yes," growled the cashier, in gruff despondency.
"Ah, that's awfully jolly. One of the finest fellows I've met in ten years. Now, the lady said she was acquainted with him, so if I don't wheedle an introduction out of him, it will show that a man at a dinner and a man in a bank are two different individuals. You were looking for plots; so there is mine laid bare to you. It's an introduction, not gold, I'm conspiring for."
The cashier had nothing further to say. When they entered the bank together he saw the clerks all busily at work, and knew that no startling event had happened during his absence. The girl had gone direct to the manager's room, and thither the young men followed her. The bank manager was standing at his desk, trying to preserve a severe financial cast of countenance, which the twinkle in his eyes belied. The girl, also standing, had evidently been giving him a rapid sketch of what had occurred, but now fell into silence when accuser and accomplice appeared.
The advent of the Englishman was a godsend to the manager. He was too courteous a gentleman to laugh in the face of a lady who very seriously was relating a set of incidents which appealed to his sense of humor, so the coming of the Lieutenant enabled him to switch off his mirth on another subject, and in reply to the officer's cordial "Good-morning, Mr. Morton," he replied:
"Why, Lieutenant, I'm delighted to see you. That was a very jolly song you sang for us last night: I'll never forget it. What do you call it? Whittington Fair?" And he laughed outright, as at a genial recollection.
The Lieutenant blushed red as a girl, and stammered:
"Really, Mr. Morton, you know, that's not according to the rules of evidence. When a fellow comes up for trial, previous convictions are never allowed to be mentioned till after the sentence. Whiddicomb Fair should not be held against me in the present crisis."
The manager chuckled gleefully. The cashier, when he saw how the land lay, had quietly withdrawn, closing the door behind him.
"Well, Lieutenant, I think I must have this incident cabled to Europe," said Morton, "so the effete nations of your continent may know that a plain bank cashier isn't afraid to tackle the British navy. Indeed, Mr. Drummond, if you read history, you will learn that this is a dangerous coast for your warships. It seems rather inhospitable that a guest of our town cannot pick all the gold he wants out of a bank, but a cashier has necessarily somewhat narrow views on the subject. I was just about to apologize to Miss Amhurst, who is a valued client of ours, when you came in, and I hope, Miss Amhurst"-- he continued gravely, turning to the girl-- "that you will excuse us for the inconvenience to which you have been put."
"Oh, it does not matter in the least," replied the young woman, with nevertheless a sigh of relief. "It was all my own fault in so carelessly leaving the money. Some time, when less in a hurry than I am at the present moment, I will tell you how I came to make the blunder."
Meanwhile the manager caught and interpreted correctly an imploring look from the Lieutenant.
"Before you go, Miss Amhurst, will you permit me to introduce to you my friend, Lieutenant Drummond, of H.M.S. 'Consternation.'"
This ritual to convention being performed, the expression on the girl's face showed the renewal of her anxiety to be gone, and as she turned to the door, the officer sprang forward and opened it for her. If the manager expected the young man to return, he was disappointed, for Drummond threw over his shoulder the hasty remark:
"I will see you at the Club this evening," whereupon the genial Morton, finding himself deserted, sat down in his swivel chair and laughed quietly to himself.
There was the slightest possible shade of annoyance on the girl's face as the sailor walked beside her from the door of the manager's room, through the public portion of the bank to the exit, and the young man noticing this, became momentarily tongue-tied, but nevertheless persisted, with a certain awkward doggedness which was not going to allow so slight a hint that his further attendance was unnecessary, to baffle him. He did not speak until they had passed down the stone steps to the pavement, and then his utterance began with a half-embarrassed stammer, as if the shadow of displeasure demanded justification on his part.
"You-- you see, Miss Amhurst, we have been properly introduced."
For the first time he heard the girl laugh, just a little, and the sound was very musical to him.
"The introduction was of the slightest," she said. "I cannot claim even an acquaintance with Mr. Morton, although I did so in the presence of his persistent subordinate. I have met the manager of the bank but once before, and that for a few moments only, when he showed me where to sign my name in a big book."
"Nevertheless," urged Drummond, "I shall defend the validity of that introduction against all comers. The head of a bank is a most important man in every country, and his commendation is really very much sought after."
"You appear to possess it. He complimented your singing, you know," and there was a roguish twinkle in the girl's eye as she glanced up sideways at him, while a smile came to her lips as she saw the color again mount to his cheeks. She had never before met a man who blushed, and she could not help regarding him rather as a big boy than a person to be taken seriously. His stammer became more pronounced.
"I-- I think you are laughing at me, Miss Amhurst, and indeed I don't wonder at it, and I-- I am afraid you consider me even more persistent than the cashier. But I did want to tell you how sorry I am to have caused you annoyance."
"Oh, you have not done so," replied the girl quickly. "As I said before, it was all my own fault in the beginning."
"No, I shouldn't have taken the gold. I should have come up with you, and told you that it still awaited you in the bank, and now I beg your permission to walk down the street with you, because if any one were looking at us from these windows, and saw us pursued by a bareheaded man with a revolver, they will now, on looking out again, learn that it is all right, and may even come to regard the revolver and the hatless one as an optical delusion."
Again the girl laughed.
"I am quite unknown in Bar Harbor, having fewer acquaintances than even a stranger like yourself, therefore so far as I am concerned it does not in the least matter whether any one saw us or not. We shall walk together, then, as far as the spot where the cashier overtook us, and this will give me an opportunity of explaining, if not of excusing, my leaving the money on the counter. I am sure my conduct must have appeared inexplicable both to you and the cashier, although, of course, you would be too polite to say so."
"I assure you, Miss Amhurst--"
"I know what you would say," she interrupted, with a vivacity which had not heretofore characterized her, "but, you see, the distance to the corner is short, and, as I am in a hurry, if you don't wish my story to be continued in our next--"
"Ah, if there is to be a next--" murmured the young man so fervently that it was now the turn of color to redden her cheeks.
"I am talking heedlessly," she said quickly. "What I want to say is this: I have never had much money. Quite recently I inherited what had been accumulated by a relative whom I never knew. It seemed so incredible, so strange-- well, it seems incredible and strange yet-- and I have been expecting to wake and find it all a dream. Indeed, when you overtook me at this spot where we now stand, I feared you had come to tell me it was a mistake; to hurl me from the clouds to the hard earth again."
"But it was just the reverse of that," he cried eagerly. "Just the reverse, remember. I came to confirm your dream, and you received from my hand the first of your fortune."
"Yes," she admitted, her eyes fixed on the sidewalk.
"I see how it was," he continued enthusiastically. "I suppose you had never drawn a check before."
"Never," she conceded.
"And this was merely a test. You set up your dream against the hard common sense of a bank, which has no dreams. You were to transform your vision into the actual, or find it vanish. When the commonplace cashier passed forth the coin, their jingle said to you, 'The supposed phantasy is real,' but the gold pieces themselves at that supreme moment meant no more to you than so many worthless counters, so you turned your back upon them."
She looked up at him, her eyes, though moist, illumined with pleasure inspired by the sympathy in his tones rather than the import of his words. The girl's life heretofore had been as scant of kindness as of cash, and there was a deep sincerity in his voice which was as refreshing to her lonesome heart as it was new to her experience. This man was not so stupid as he had pretended to be. He had accurately divined the inner meaning of what had happened. She had forgotten the necessity for haste which had been so importunate a few minutes before.
"You must be a mind-reader," she said.
"No, I am not at all a clever person," he laughed. "Indeed, as I told you, I am always blundering into trouble, and making things uncomfortable for my friends. I regret to say I am rather under a cloud just now in the service, and I have been called upon to endure the frown of my superiors."
"Why, what has happened?" she asked. After their temporary halt at the corner where they had been overtaken, they now strolled along together like old friends, her prohibition out of mind.
"Well, you see, I was temporarily in command of the cruiser coming down the Baltic, and passing an island rock a few miles away, I thought it would be a good opportunity to test a new gun that had been put aboard when we left England. The sea was very calm, and the rock most temptsome. Of course I knew it was Russian territory, but who could have imagined that such a point in space was inhabited by anything else than sea-gulls."
"What!" cried the girl, looking up at him with new interest. "You don't mean to say you are the officer that Russia demanded from England, and England refused to give up?"
"Oh, England could not give me up, of course, but she apologized, and assured Russia she had no evil intent. Still, anything that sets the diplomatists at work is frowned upon, and the man who does an act which his government is forced to disclaim becomes unpopular with his superiors."
"I read about it in the papers at the time. Didn't the rock fire back at you?"
"Yes, it did, and no one could have been more surprised than I when I saw the answering puff of smoke."
"How came a cannon to be there?"
"Nobody knows. I suppose that rock in the Baltic is a concealed fort, with galleries and gun-rooms cut in the stone after the fashion of our defences at Gibraltar. I told the court-martial that I had added a valuable bit of information to our naval knowledge, but I don't suppose this contention exercised any influence on the minds of my judges. I also called their attention to the fact that my shell had hit, while the Russian shot fell half a mile short. That remark nearly cost me my commission. A court-martial has no sense of humor."
"I suppose everything is satisfactorily settled now?"
"Well, hardly that. You see, Continental nations are extremely suspicious of Britain's good intentions, as indeed they are of the good intentions of each other. No government likes to have-- well, what we might call a 'frontier incident' happen, and even if a country is quite in the right, it nevertheless looks askance at any official of its own who, through his stupidity, brings about an international complication. As concerns myself, I am rather under a cloud, as I told you. The court-martial acquitted me, but it did so with reluctance and a warning. I shall have to walk very straight for the next year or two, and be careful not to stub my toe, for the eyes of the Admiralty are upon me. However, I think I can straighten this matter out. I have six months' leave coming on shortly, which I intend to spend in St. Petersburg. I shall make it my business to see privately some of the officials in the Admiralty there, and when they realize by personal inspection what a well-intentioned idiot I am, all distrust will vanish."
"I should do nothing of the kind," rejoined the girl earnestly, quite forgetting the shortness of their acquaintance, as she had forgotten the flight of time, while on his part he did not notice any incongruity in the situation. "I'd leave well enough alone," she added.
"Why do you think that?" he asked.
"Your own country has investigated the matter, and has deliberately run the risk of unpleasantness by refusing to give you up. How, then, can you go there voluntarily? You would be acting in your private capacity directly in opposition to the decision arrived at by your government."
"Technically, that is so; still, England would not hold the position she does in the world to-day if her men had not often taken a course in their private capacity which the government would never have sanctioned. As things stand now, Russia has not insisted on her demand, but has sullenly accepted England's decision, still quite convinced that my act was not only an invasion of Russia's domain, but a deliberate insult; therefore the worst results of an inconsiderate action on my part remain. If I could see the Minister for Foreign Affairs, or the head of the Admiralty in St. Petersburg face to face for ten minutes, I'd undertake to remove that impression."
"You have great faith in your persuasive powers," she said demurely.
The Lieutenant began to stammer again.
"No, no, it isn't so much that, but I have great faith in the Russian as a judge of character. I suppose I am imagined to be a venomous, brow-beating, truculent Russophobe, who has maliciously violated their territory, flinging a shell into their ground and an insult into their face. They are quite sincere in this belief. I want to remove that impression, and there's nothing like an ocular demonstration. I like the Russians. One of my best friends is a Russian."
The girl shook her head.
"I shouldn't attempt it," she persisted. "Suppose Russia arrested you, and said to England, 'We've got this man in spite of you'?"
The Lieutenant laughed heartily.
"That is unthinkable: Russia wouldn't do such a thing. In spite of all that is said about the Russian Government, its members are gentlemen. Of course, if such a thing happened, there would be trouble. That is a point where we're touchy. A very cheap Englishman, wrongfully detained, may cause a most expensive campaign. Our diplomatists may act correctly enough, and yet leave a feeling of resentment behind. Take this very case. Britain says coldly to Russia:
"'We disclaim the act, and apologize.'
"Now, it would be much more to the purpose if she said genially:
"'We have in our employment an impetuous young fool with a thirst for information. He wished to learn how a new piece of ordnance would act, so fired it off with no more intention of striking Russia than of hitting the moon. He knows much more about dancing than about foreign affairs. We've given him a month's leave, and he will slip across privately to St. Petersburg to apologize and explain. The moment you see him you will recognize he is no menace to the peace of nations. Meanwhile, if you can inculcate in him some cold, calm common-sense before he returns, we'll be ever so much obliged.'"
"So you are determined to do what you think the government should have done."
"Oh, quite. There will be nothing frigidly official about my unauthorized mission. I have a cousin in the embassy at St. Petersburg, but I shan't go near him; neither shall I go to an hotel, but will get quiet rooms somewhere that I may not run the risk of meeting any chance acquaintances."
"It seems to me you are about to afford the Russian Government an excellent opportunity of spiriting you off to Siberia, and nobody would be the wiser."
Drummond indulged in the free-hearted laugh of a youth to whom life is still rather a good joke.
"I shouldn't mind studying the Siberian system from the inside if they allowed me to return before my leave was up. I believe that sort of thing has been exaggerated by sensational writers. The Russian Government would not countenance anything of the kind, and if the minor officials tried to play tricks, there's always my cousin in the background, and it would be hard luck if I couldn't get a line to him. Oh, there's no danger in my project!"
Suddenly the girl came to a standstill, and gave expression to a little cry of dismay.
"What's wrong?" asked the Lieutenant.
"Why, we've walked clear out into the country!"
"Oh, is that all? I hadn't noticed."
"And there are people waiting for me. I must run."
"Nonsense, let them wait."
"I should have been back long since."
They had turned, and she was hurrying.
"Think of your new fortune, Miss Amhurst, safely lodged in our friend Morton's bank, and don't hurry for any one."
"I didn't say it was a fortune: there's only ten thousand dollars there."
"That sounds formidable, but unless the people who are waiting for you muster more than ten thousand apiece, I don't think you should make haste on their account."
"It's the other way about, Mr. Drummond. Individually they are poorer than I, therefore I should have returned long ago. Now, I fear, they will be in a temper."
"Well, if anybody left me two thousand pounds, I'd take an afternoon off to celebrate. Here we are in the suburbs again. Won't you change your mind and your direction; let us get back into the country, sit down on the hillside, look at the Bay, and gloat over your wealth?"
Dorothy Amhurst shook her head and held out her hand.
"I must bid you good-by here, Lieutenant Drummond. This is my shortest way home."
"May I not accompany you just a little farther?"
"Please, no, I wish to go the rest of the way alone."
He held her hand, which she tried to withdraw, and spoke with animation.
"There's so much I wanted to say, but perhaps the most important is this: I shall see you the night of the 14th, at the ball we are giving on the 'Consternation'?"
"It is very likely," laughed the girl, "unless you overlook me in the throng. There will be a great mob. I hear you have issued many invitations."
"We hope all our friends will come. It's going to be a great function. Your Secretary of the Navy has promised to look in on us, and our Ambassador from Washington will be there. I assure you we are doing our best, with festooned electric lights, hanging draperies, and all that, for we want to make the occasion at least remotely worthy of the hospitality we have received. Of course you have your card, but I wish you hadn't, so that I might have the privilege of sending you one or more invitations."
"That would be quite unnecessary," said the girl, again with a slight laugh and heightened color.
"If any of your friends need cards of invitation, won't you let me know, so that I may send them to you?"
"I'm sure I shan't need any, but if I do, I promise to remember your kindness, and apply."
"It will be a pleasure for me to serve you. With whom shall you come? I should like to know the name, in case I should miss you in the crowd."
"I expect to be with Captain Kempt, of the United States Navy."
"Ah," said the Lieutenant, with a note of disappointment in his voice which he had not the diplomacy to conceal. His hold of her hand relaxed, and she took the opportunity to withdraw it.
"What sort of a man is Captain Kempt? I shall be on the lookout for him, you know."
"I think he is the handsomest man I have ever seen, and I know he is the kindest and most courteous."
"Really? A young man, I take it?"
"There speaks the conceit of youth," said Dorothy, smiling. "Captain Kempt, U.S.N., retired. His youngest daughter is just two years older than myself."
"Oh, yes, Captain Kempt. I-- I remember him now. He was at the dinner last night, and sat beside our captain. What a splendid story-teller he is!" cried the Lieutenant with honest enthusiasm.
"I shall tell him that, and ask him how he liked your song. Good-by," and before the young man could collect his thoughts to make any reply, she was gone.
Skimming lightly over the ground at first, she gradually slackened her pace, and slowed down to a very sober walk until she came to a three-storied so-called "cottage" overlooking the Bay, then with a sigh she opened the gate, and went into the house by the servant's entrance.