There was a cottage a few hundred yards away. As he neared it, he cast one look back. The wretched boy was on his feet, hurrying away in an opposite direction. Another chase ensued, though only a short one. For Loman was in no condition to hold out long. Oliver half led, half dragged him to Grandham, where at last he procured food, which the unhappy fugitive devoured ravenously.

He has not returned." "Strange," said the Doctor; "which direction did he take?" "Up towards Grandham," said Wraysford; "we went together as far as the cross roads, and then I went off on the Dallingford road and back by the river." "He ought to be back now," said the Doctor, looking concerned.

"There is no telegraph office there," said the Doctor; "the Grandham people have to come here or to Dallingford to telegraph." They waited an hour, but Oliver did not return. The night became more and more stormy. The bleak February wind whistled among the chimneys, and the hard rain beat pitilessly at the windows and on the gravel walk outside.

"There is no railway or coach from Grandham," suggested Mr Rastle; "he would have to walk back most likely." "And in this rain!" said the Doctor. "Perhaps," said Wraysford, "he may have heard something." It was a cheery suggestion. If it could but be true! "He would have telegraphed," said Mr Loman.

Still, he did not like to turn back while a chance remained. He went on towards Grandham, inquiring of everybody and looking everywhere. At last it was getting dusk he entered a field across which ran a footpath which led direct to Grandham Green.