"Tell you what," he said in a low voice, "if this storm has blown over by the morning, meet me after breakfast, and we will walk down the valley to Vicosoprano for luncheon. There is a diligence back in the afternoon. We can stroll there in three hours, and I shall have time to clear up this swallow proposition." "That will be delightful, if the weather improves." "It will. I will compel it."

When the valet drew his blind in the morning the cold room was filled with a balmy warmth. A glance through the window, however, dispelled a germ of hope that Helen and he might start on the promised walk to Vicosoprano. The snow lay deep in the pass, and probably extended a mile or two down into the Vale of Bregaglia.

Even the glorious sunshine did not relieve its brooding silence. Thus it came about that these three people went down into the valley, each within a short distance of the others, and Spencer saw them all from the high road, where he was questioning an official of the federal postoffice as to the method of booking seats in the banquette of the diligence from Vicosoprano.

Perhaps the American meant to enlighten her during their projected walk to Vicosoprano. Stampa and the others approached. Together they climbed the little hill leading to the summit of the pass. In the village they said "Good night" to the two guides and Karl. Helen promised laughingly to make the acquaintance of Johann Klucker's cat at the first opportunity.

The handwriting was strange to his eyes; but a premonition told him that it was Helen's. Somehow, he expected that she would write in a clear, strong, legible way. He was not mistaken. She sent a friendly little message that she was devoting the morning to work. The weather made it impossible to go to Vicosoprano, and in any event she did not feel equal to a long walk.