"I must go at once to Justice Bervie's house. Don't be afraid, mamma! I know what I am about, and I know I am right."
"Going to Justice Bervie's!" cried Mrs. Bowmore, in the utmost extremity of astonishment. "What will your father say, what will Percy think, when they come back from the Club?"
"My sister's carriage is waiting for me close by," Bervie answered. "It is entirely at Miss Bowmore's disposal. She can easily get back, if she wishes to keep her visit a secret, before Mr. Bowmore and Mr. Linwood return."
He led her to the door as he spoke. She ran back and kissed her mother tenderly. Mrs. Bowmore called to them to wait.
"I daren't let you go," she said to her daughter, "without your father's leave!"
Charlotte seemed not to hear, the Captain seemed not to hear. They ran across the front garden, and through the gate--and were out of sight in less than a minute.
More than two hours passed; the sun sank below the horizon, and still there were no signs of Charlotte's return.
Feeling seriously uneasy, Mrs. Bowmore crossed the room to ring the bell, and send the man-servant to Justice Bervie's house to hasten her daughter's return.