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There were so many things that Millie should have said. The simple truth was that she had been in love with him for weeks and had no other thought but that.

Henry found that his hat was on his head, that he was withdrawn from the crowd, that he and the policeman together were moving towards Panton Street. Endeavours had been made to find the other man. There was apparently no Other Man. There had never been one according to one shrill-voiced lady.

"Who dared?"

"You've no right to speak of my friends that way. . . . But I'm not going to be cross with you. No, I'm not. You're tired and not yourself. Dr. Brooker was saying so only yesterday."

"No."

"And I'll tell you this," said Henry, suddenly shouting, "it's going to be finished splendidly too. It's going to be better than you can imagine. And you're going to work harder and I'm going to work harder than we've ever done in our lives. It's going to be the best thing that's ever been. . . . It's all we can do," he added, suddenly dropping his voice.

"I'm here," Henry cried valiantly, feeling for his pince-nez, which to his delight were not broken "I'll follow you any[Pg 221]where. No harm shall happen to you so long as I'm alive."

"Well, you're pretty and you're young and your clothes don't look exactly as though you're hard up. However if you want to be imprisoned before your time there's no reason why I should prevent you!"

His happiness almost choked him, but he was determined to be severely practical. He found out from her the name of her uncle and the hotel at which he was staying. He wrote a few lines saying that Miss Christina Tenssen was here in his room, that it was urgently necessary that she should be fetched by her uncle as soon as possible for reasons that he, Henry, would explain later. He got Christina herself to write a line at the bottom of the page.

"I don't know. What does it matter?"

Henry went back to the letters, a sick heavy weight of disappointment in his heart. He could have no doubt concerning the final judgment. How could it be otherwise? Well, at the most he had had a beautiful six weeks. He had learnt some very interesting things that he would never forget and that[Pg 119] he could not have learnt in any other way. But how disappointing to lose his first job so quickly! How sad Millie would be and how sarcastic his father! And then the girl! How could he now entertain any hopes of doing anything for her when he had no job, no money, no prospects! . . .

Into all this Henry sank. Among the few books in the library he found several dealing with the history of the house, of the Duncombes, of the district. Just as he had conjured up the Edinburgh of Scott and Ballantyne, so now his head was soon full of all the Duncombes of the pastGiles Duncombe of Henry VIII.'s time, who had helped his fat monarch to persecute the monasteries and had been given the lands of Saltingham Abbey near by as a reward; Charles Duncombe, the admiral who had helped to chase the Armada; Denis Duncombe, killed at Naseby; Giles Duncombe, the Second, exquisite of Charles II.'s Court killed in a duel; Guy Duncombe, his son, who had fled to France with James II.; Giles the Third of Queen Anne's Court, poet and dramatist; then the two brothers, Charles and Godfrey, who had joined the '45, Charles to suffer on the scaffold, Godfrey to flee into perpetual exile; then Charles again, friend of Johnson and Goldsmith, writer of a bad novel called The Forsaken Beauty, and a worse play which even Garrick's acting could not save from being damned; then a seaman again, Triolus Duncombe, who had fought with Nelson at Trafalgar, and lost an arm there; then Ponsonby Duncombe, the historian, who had known Macaulay and written for the Quarterly, and had drunk tea with George Lewes and his horse-faced genius; then Sir Charles's father, who had been simply a comfortable country squireone of Trollope's men straight from Orley Farm and The Claverings, who had liked his elder son, Ralph (killed tiger-shooting in India), and his younger son Tom both better[Pg 198] than the quiet, studious Charles, whom he had never understood. All these men and their women too seemed to Henry still to live in the house and haunt the gardens, to laugh above the stream and walk below the trees. So quiet was the place and so still that standing by the pond under the star-lit sky he could swear that he heard their voices. . . .

"She is," said Millie. "She's just given notice."