The Magician 'Drink this,' he said. 'What is it?' 'Never mind! Drink it at once.' Obediently she put it to her lips. He stood over her as she emptied the glass. A sudden glow filled her. 'Now come with me.' He took her arm and led her down the stairs. He passed through the hall quickly. There was a cab just drawn up at the door, and he told her to get in. One or two persons stared at seeing a woman come out of that hotel in a teagown and without a hat. He directed the driver to the house in which Susie lived and looked round at Margaret. She had fainted immediately she got into the cab. When they arrived, he carried Margaret upstairs and laid her on a sofa. He told Susie what had happened and what he wanted of her. The dear woman forgot everything except that Margaret was very ill, and promised willingly to do all he wished. ***** For a week Margaret could not be moved. Arthur hired a little cottage in Hampshire, opposite the Isle of Wight, hoping that amid the most charming, restful scenery in England she would quickly regain her strength; and as soon as it was possible Susie took her down. But she was much altered. Her gaiety had disappeared and with it her determination. Although her illness had been neither long nor serious, she seemed as exhausted, physically and mentally, as if she had been for months at the point of death. She took no interest in her surroundings, and was indifferent to the shady lanes through which they drove and to the gracious trees and the meadows. Her old passion for beauty was gone, and she cared neither for the flowers which filled their little garden nor for the birds that sang continually. But at last it seemed necessary to discuss the future. Margaret acquiesced in all that was suggested to her, and agreed willingly that the needful steps should be taken to procure her release from Oliver Haddo. He made apparently no effort to trace her, and nothing had been heard of him. He did not know where Margaret was, but he might have guessed that Arthur was responsible for her flight, and Arthur was easily to be found. It made Susie vaguely uneasy that there was no sign of his existence. She wished that Arthur were not kept by his work in London. At last a suit for divorce was instituted. Two days after this, when Arthur was in his consultingroom, Haddo's card was brought to him. Arthur's jaw set more firmly. 'Show the gentleman in,' he ordered. When Haddo entered, Arthur, standing with his back to the fireplace, motioned him to sit down. 'What can I do for you?' he asked coldly. 'I have not come to avail myself of your surgical skill, my dear Burdon,' smiled Haddo, as he fell ponderously into an armchair. 'So I imagined.'
Published on Apr 1, 2012