He threw down the pen, and embraced Mrs. Bowmore in the most summary manner. The poor woman was ordered to send the roll of paper to the Club, without a word to comfort and sustain her from her husband's lips. Percy spoke to her hopefully and kindly, as he kissed her cheek at parting.
On the next morning, a letter, addressed to Mrs. Bowmore, was delivered at the cottage by private messenger.
Opening the letter, she recognized the handwriting of her husband's old friend, and her old friend--Major Mulvany. In breathless amazement, she read these lines:
"DEAR MRS. BOWMORE--In matters of importance, the golden rule is never to waste words. I have performed one of the great actions of my life--I have saved your husband.
"How I discovered that my friend was in danger, I must not tell you at present. Let it be enough if I say that I have been a guest under Justice Bervie's hospitable roof, and that I know of a Home Office spy who has taken you unawares, under pretense of being your footman. If I had not circumvented him, the scoundrel would have imprisoned your husband, and another dear friend of mine. This is how I did it.
"I must begin by appealing to your memory.
"Do you happen to remember that your husband and I are as near as may be of about the same height? Very good, so far. Did you, in the next place, miss Bowmore's traveling coat and cap from their customary peg? I am the thief, dearest lady; I put them on my own humble self. Did you hear a sudden noise in the hall? Oh, forgive me--I made the noise! And it did just what I wanted of it. It brought the spy up from the kitchen, suspecting that something might be wrong.
"What did the wretch see when he got into the hall? His master, in traveling costume, running out. What did he find when he reached the garden? His master escaping, in a post-chaise, on the road to London. What did he do, the born blackguard that he was? Jumped up behind the chaise to make sure of his prisoner. It was dark when we got to London. In a hop, skip, and jump, I was out of the carriage, and in at my own door, before he could l ook me in the face.