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The Woman in White, Page 54

Wilkie Collins

  I found Marian waiting for me alone in the little sitting-room. She hadpersuaded Laura to go to rest, after first promising to show me herdrawing the moment I came in. The poor little dim faint sketch--sotrifling in itself, so touching in its associations--was propped upcarefully on the table with two books, and was placed where the faintlight of the one candle we allowed ourselves might fall on it to thebest advantage. I sat down to look at the drawing, and to tell Marian,in whispers, what had happened. The partition which divided us fromthe next room was so thin that we could almost hear Laura's breathing,and we might have disturbed her if we had spoken aloud.

  Marian preserved her composure while I described my interview with Mr.Kyrle. But her face became troubled when I spoke next of the men whohad followed me from the lawyer's office, and when I told her of thediscovery of Sir Percival's return.

  "Bad news, Walter," she said, "the worst news you could bring. Have younothing more to tell me?"

  "I have something to give you," I replied, handing her the note whichMr. Kyrle had confided to my care.

  She looked at the address and recognised the handwriting instantly.

  "You know your correspondent?" I said.

  "Too well," she answered. "My correspondent is Count Fosco."

  With that reply she opened the note. Her face flushed deeply while sheread it--her eyes brightened with anger as she handed it to me to readin my turn.

  The note contained these lines--