Chapter XXVI
 

Jean Briggerland discovered a new arrival on her return to the house.

Jack Glover had come unexpectedly from London, so Lydia told her, and Jack himself met her with extraordinary geniality.

"You lucky people to be in this paradise!" he said. "It is raining like the dickens in London, and miserable beyond description. And you're looking brown and beautiful, Miss Briggerland."

"The spirit of the warm south has got into your blood, Mr. Glover," she said sarcastically. "A course at the Riviera would make you almost human."

"And what would make you human?" asked Jack blandly.

"I hope you people aren't going to quarrel as soon as you meet," said Lydia.

Jean was struck by the change in the girl. There was a colour in her cheeks, and a new and a more joyous note in her voice, which was unmistakable to so keen a student as Jean Briggerland.

"I never quarrel with Jack," she said. She assumed a proprietorial air toward Jack Glover, which unaccountably annoyed Lydia. "He invents the quarrels and carries them out himself. How long are you staying?"

"Two days," said Jack, "then I'm due back in town."

"Have you brought your Mr. Jaggs with you?" asked Jean innocently.

"Isn't he here?" asked Jack in surprise. "I sent him along a week ago."

"Here?" repeated Jean slowly. "Oh, he's here, is he? Of course." She nodded. Certain things were clear to her now; the unknown drencher of beds, the stranger who had appeared from nowhere and had left her father senseless, were no longer mysteries.

"Oh, Jean," it was Lydia who spoke. "I'm awfully remiss, I didn't give you the parcel I brought back from the hospital."

"From the hospital?" said Jean. "What parcel was that?"

"Something you had sent to be sterilized. I'll get it."

She came back in a minute or two with the parcel which she had found in the car.

"Oh yes," said Jean carelessly, "I remember. It is a rug that I lent to the gardener's wife when her little boy was taken ill."

She handed the packet to the maid.

"Take it to my room," she said.

She waited just long enough to find an excuse for leaving the party, and went upstairs. The parcel was on her bed. She tore off the wrapping--inside, starched white and clean, was the dust coat she had worn the night she had carried Xavier from the cottage to Lydia's bed. The rubber cap was there, discoloured from the effects of the disinfectant, and the gloves and the silk handkerchief, neatly washed and pressed. She looked at them thoughtfully.

She put the articles away in a drawer, went down the servants' stairs and through a heavy open door into the cellar. Light was admitted by two barred windows, through one of which she had thrust her bundle that night, and she could see every corner of the cellar, which was empty--as she had expected. The clothing she had thrown down had been gathered by some mysterious agent, who had forwarded it to the hospital in her name.

She came slowly up the stairs, fastened the open door behind her, and walked out into the garden to think.

"Jaggs!" she said aloud, and her voice was as soft as silk. "I think, Mr. Jaggs, you ought to be in heaven."