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himself before Mr and Mrs Browdie without a word of notice.
Thus it was that between seven and eight o’clock one evening,
he and Kate found themselves in the Saracen’s Head booking-
office, securing a place to Greta Bridge by the next morning’s
coach. They had to go westward, to procure some little necessaries
for his journey, and, as it was a fine night, they agreed to walk
there, and ride home.
The place they had just been in called up so many recollections,
and Kate had so many anecdotes of Madeline, and Nicholas so
many anecdotes of Frank, and each was so interested in what the
other said, and both were so happy and confiding, and had so
much to talk about, that it was not until they had plunged for a full
half-hour into that labyrinth of streets which lies between Seven
Dials and Soho, without emerging into any large thoroughfare,
that Nicholas began to think it just possible they might have lost
The possibility was soon converted into a certainty; for, on
looking about, and walking first to one end of the street and then
to the other, he could find no landmark he could recognise, and
was fain to turn back again in quest of some place at which he
could seek a direction.
It was a by-street, and there was nobody about, or in the few
wretched shops they passed. Making towards a faint gleam of light
which streamed across the pavement from a cellar, Nicholas was
about to descend two or three steps so as to render himself visible
to those below and make his inquiry, when he was arrested by a
loud noise of scolding in a woman’s voice.
‘Oh come away!’ said Kate, ‘they are quarrelling. You’ll be