She put the question with a sudden flash in her eyes, and a sudden look up into Mr. Godfrey's face. On his side, he looked down at her with an indulgence so injudicious and so ill-deserved, that I really felt called on to interfere.

`Rachel, darling!' I remonstrated gently, `true greatness and true courage are ever modest.'

`You are a very good fellow in your way, Godfrey,' she said--not taking the smallest notice, observe, of me, and still speaking to her cousin as if she was one young man addressing another. `But I am quite sure you are not great; I don't believe you possess any extraordinary courage; and I am firmly persuaded-- if you ever had any modesty--that your lady-worshippers relieved you of that virtue a good many years since. You have some private reason for not talking of your adventure in Northumberland Street; and I mean to know it.'

`My reason is the simplest imaginable, and the most easily acknowledged,' he answered, still bearing with her. `I am tired of the subject.'

`You are tired of the subject? My dear Godfrey, I am going to make a remark.'

`What is it?'

`You live a great deal too much in the society of women. And you have contracted two very bad habits in consequence. You have learnt to talk nonsense seriously, and you have got into a way of telling fibs for the pleasure of telling them. You can't go straight with your lady-worshippers. I mean to make you go straight with me. Come, and sit down. I am brimful of downright questions; and I expect you to be brimful of downright answers.'

She actually dragged him across the room to a chair by the window, where the light would fall on his face. I deeply feel being obliged to report such language, and to describe such conduct. But, hemmed in as I am, between Mr. Franklin Blake's cheque on one side and my own sacred regard for truth on the other, what am I to do? I looked at my aunt. She sat unmoved; apparently in no way disposed to interfere. I had never noticed this kind of torpor in her before. It was, perhaps, the reaction after the trying time she had had in the country. Not a pleasant symptom to remark, be it what it might, at dear Lady Verinder's age, and with dear Lady Verinder's autumnal exuberance of figure.

In the meantime, Rachel had settled herself at the window with our amiable and forbearing--our too forbearing-- Mr. Godfrey. She began the string of questions with which she had threatened him, taking no more notice of her mother, or of myself, than if we had not been in the room.

`Have the police done anything, Godfrey?'

`Nothing whatever.'

`It is certain, I suppose, that the three men who laid the trap for you were the same three men who afterwards laid the trap for Mr. Lucker?'

`Humanly speaking, my dear Rachel, there can be no doubt of it.'

`And not a trace of them has been discovered?'

`Not a trace.'

`It is thought--is it not?--that these three men are the three Indians who came to our house in the country.'

`Some people think so.'

`Do you think so?'

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