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Is it waiting?’

Gride gladly availed himself of the pretext for going to the
window to see. Ralph, keeping his face steadily the other way, tore
at his shirt with the hand which he had thrust into his breast, and
muttered in a hoarse whisper:

‘Ten thousand pounds! He said ten thousand! The precise sum
paid in but yesterday for the two mortgages, and which would
have gone out again, at heavy interest, tomorrow. If that house has
failed, and he the first to bring the news!--Is the coach there?’

‘Yes, yes,’ said Gride, startled by the fierce tone of the inquiry.
‘It’s here. Dear, dear, what a fiery man you are!’

‘Come here,’ said Ralph, beckoning to him. ‘We mustn’t make a
show of being disturbed. We’ll go down arm in arm.’

‘But you pinch me black and blue,’ urged Gride.
Ralph let him go impatiently, and descending the stairs with his
usual firm and heavy tread, got into the coach. Arthur Gride
followed. After looking doubtfully at Ralph when the man asked
where he was to drive, and finding that he remained silent, and
expressed no wish upon the subject, Arthur mentioned his own
house, and thither they proceeded.

On their way, Ralph sat in the furthest corner with folded arms,
and uttered not a word. With his chin sunk upon his breast, and
his downcast eyes quite hidden by the contraction of his knotted
brows, he might have been asleep for any sign of consciousness he
gave until the coach stopped, when he raised his head, and
glancing through the window, inquired what place that was.

‘My house,’ answered the disconsolate Gride, affected perhaps
by its loneliness. ‘Oh dear! my house.’

‘True,’ said Ralph ‘I have not observed the way we came. I

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