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42

What do you mean, she hasnt returned? Anthony removed his gold watch from a pocket and verified the time. Its nearly six-thirty. Shes an hour late.

Yes, Mr. Stalbridge, Im aware of that. Mrs. Galts mouth pursed in a disapproving manner. It has been my experience that Mrs. Bryce keeps unpredictable hours. In addition, she is very much inclined to go out without giving anyone a clear notion of her destination or an idea of when she will return At least this time she did mention that she was visiting Digbys Bookshop.

Interrogating Mrs. Galt was useless. He surveyed the front hall. Louisas bonnet and cloak were gone. That told him only that she was not home. He already knew that much.

You say she asked me to wait? he said.

Yes, sir. When she came home from her visit to Swanton Lane, she said something about wanting to speak with you as soon as possible.

That caught his attention. She went to Swanton Lane this afternoon?

Yes, sir. Mrs. Galt snorted. I dont know why she insists upon going there so often. Its all very well to give money to those engaged in charitable work, but theres no need for a proper lady to become personally involved with that sort of thing.

Thank you, Mrs. Galt. Youve been very helpful. I am going out to look for Mrs. Bryce.

Good luck is all I can say, sir. Mrs. Galt opened the door.

He went down the steps, thinking about his next move. Night was coming on swiftly. He did not like knowing that Louisa was out there, somewhere, on her own.

He would start with Digbys. Perhaps the bookseller would have some idea of where she had gone after she left his shop.


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