Leaving her, Jasper made a rapid, though careful, toilet, and was presently on his way to Westbourne Park. It was his hope that he should reach Mrs Yule's house before any ordinary afternoon caller could arrive; and so he did. He had not been here since that evening when he encountered Reardon on the road and heard his reproaches. To his great satisfaction, Amy was alone in the drawing-room; he held her hand a trifle longer than was necessary, and returned more earnestly the look of interest with which she regarded him.
'I was ignorant of this affair when your letter came,' he began, 'and I set out immediately to see you.'
'I hoped you would bring me some news. What can have driven the poor man to such extremity?'
'Poverty, I can only suppose. But I will see Whelpdale. I hadn't come across Biffen for a long time.'
'Was he still so very poor?' asked Amy, compassionately.
'I'm afraid so. His book failed utterly.'
'Oh, if I had imagined him still in such distress, surely I might have done something to help him!'--So often the regretful remark of one's friends, when one has been permitted to perish.
With Amy's sorrow was mingled a suggestion of tenderness which came of her knowledge that the dead man had worshipped her. Perchance his death was in part attributable to that hopeless love.