A deadly feud, entirely of Miss Beccles' initiating and nourishing, had existed between them for years. They had been neither on speaking nor on writing terms. Miss Beccles, ten years Lady Fenimore's senior, was, from all I had heard, a most disagreeable and ill-conditioned person, as different from my charming friend Edith Fenimore as the ugly old sisters were from Cinderella.

Now that we are at grip with elementals, I find myself, if anything, in advance of the fashion. This, however, by the way. What I am clumsily trying to explain is that if I am to make this story intelligible I must start from the darkness where its roots lie hidden. And that darkness is the black depths of the canal by the lock gates where Althea Fenimore's body was found.

Both kept silence. Sibyl had become very grave, and was thinking intently. Then, with a few brief questions, vigilant, precise, she learnt all that had taken place between Hugh and Mrs. Maskell, between Hugh and the doctor; heard of the woman's disappearance, and of Mrs Fenimore's arrival on the scene. 'What shall you do now? 'Go back and give myself up. What else can I do?

Then one afternoon came Sir Anthony Fenimore to see me, and with a view to obtaining either my advice or my sympathy, reopened the story of his daughter Althea found drowned in the canal eleven months before. What he considered a most disconcerting light had just been cast on the tragedy by Maria Beccles. This lady was Lady Fenimore's sister.

Never an allusion to poor Oswald Fenimore's gallant death he used to run in and out of Wellings Park as if it were his own house. What had he against the place which for so many years had been his home? With regard to Betty Fairfax, he had loved and ridden away, it is true, leaving her disconsolate. But though everyone knew of the engagement, no one had suspected the defection.

"Lady Fenimore's compliments, sir, and will you be so kind as to step round to Sir Anthony at once?" Heaven knows that never another step shall I take in this world again; but Sergeant Marigold has always ignored the fact. That is one of the many things I admire about Marigold. He does not throw my poor paralysed legs, so to speak, in my face.

Fenimore's; but when he drew near he signalled to the driver: 'Stop at the gate. Don't drive up. From the entrance to Mrs. Fenimore's round to the by-road which was the direct approach to Redgrave's bungalow would be a walk of some ten minutes. Hugh had his reasons for not taking this direction.

Betty laughed gaily at good Lady Fenimore's somewhat didactic reproof. "You know I'm not an absolute idiot. Fancy the poor dear coming home all over bandages and sticking-plaster. 'Where's your V. C? 'I haven't got it. 'Then go back at once and get it or I shan't love you. Poor darling!" Suddenly the laughter in her eyes quickened into something very bright and beautiful.

These two episodes, the death of poor Reggie Dacre and the Tufton catastrophe, are the only incidents in my diary that are worth recording here. Christmas came and went and we entered on the new year of 1916. It was only at a date in the middle of February, a year since I had driven to Wellings Park to hear the tragic news of Oswald Fenimore's death, that I find an important entry in my diary.

Outside Prettilove the hairdresser's I held quite a little reception, and instead of moving me on for blocking the traffic, as any of his London colleagues would have done, the local police sergeant sank his authority and by the side of a butcher's boy formed part of the assembly. When I got to the Market Square, I saw Sir Anthony Fenimore's car standing outside the Town Hall.