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      He was leading her away from the people, to the back of the stalls. He was nearly as miserable and aghast as she. For he had become extraordinarily fond of her during those few weeks, and the thought of losing her turned him cold. He had been a fool to bring her to the Fair.The crowd surged round the waggons, cheered, joked, sang. The whole of Rye was thereprosperous tradesmen from the High Street or Station Road, innkeepers, farmers, shop-assistants, chains of fishermen in high boots, jerseys, and gold ear-rings, coast-guards from the Camber, and one or two scared-looking women clinging to stalwart arms.

      Oh, I dont think we shall go away, she said.There was never a swifter disillusionment than when she came in, and he stood up, as he had now{157} learned to do, at her entrance. He had heard her step along the passage, and the bird of romance, hidden perhaps behind the sofa or in the case of files, gave out a great jubilant throatful of song. But next moment it was as if some hand, Mrs Fysons perhaps, had wrung its neck and stopped its singing. She had a perfectly friendly smile for him, but the smile was not one shade more friendly than usual, her eyes did not hold lit within them a spark of closer intimacy than had habitually been there for the last fortnight. Whatever had happened to him last night, he saw that nothing whatever had happened to her. No sixth sense had conveyed to her the smallest hint of his midnight walk: she had been through no nocturnal experiences that the most sanguine could construe into correspondence with that, and on the moment he could no more have told her about his midnight walk, or have been humorous on the subject of disintegrated shoes than he could have taken her into his arms and kissed her. And by the standard of how incredibly remote she seemed, he could judge of the distance of his spirits leap towards her, when he stood outside her window last night. The very absence of any change in her was the light by which he saw the change in himself.

      That evening De Boteler spoke little during supper, and while drinking the second cup after the repast, he desired the page who stood behind his chair, to order the monk John to attend him directly. Father John presently appeared, and approaching the foot of the table, made a low obeisance, and then with his hands crossed on his bosom, and with eyes cast down, awaited till De Boteler should address him. De Boteler looked for a moment earnestly at the monk, ere in a stern voice he said:

      The monk was then conducted to the outer door of the prison. It would be in vain to paint the frantic joy of those without. Deafening shouts of "The prophet is free!" passed from mouth to mouth, and then came the rush to obtain a prayer or benediction.

      "It's justabout wet, Robby."

      "Aye, aye," said Harvey; "four-and-twenty hours in this cold room, without meat or drink, will bring him to reason, I'll warrant you."


      "She wasted her time," said Reuben, "so I got shut of her."


      "He's more likely to do fur someone else," said Tilly, who knew her father.BOOK VII THE END IN SIGHT Chapter 1


      He felt Caro's disappearance more acutely than he would allow to show. First, she had left him badly in the lurch in household mattershe had to engage a woman to take her place, and pay her wages. Also she had caused a scandal in the neighbourhood, which meant more derisive fingers pointed at Odiam. Pete was now the only one left of his original familyhis children and their runnings-away had become a byword in Peasmarsh.