from laughing, seemed to catch it as he spoke.

"Do you mean the forerunner of fatal illness, sir?"

"Only in one of the cases, Frank. The man had been ill for a long time, but his death was quite sudden and unexpected. The other two had no illness whatever: they died without it."

"From accident?"

"Yes, from accident. I should not avow as much to any one but you, Frank, and run the risk of being ridiculed: but I tell you that when I saw Bell come in that morning, with that peculiar grey on his face, it shocked me. I believed then, as firmly as I ever believed anything in my life, that the man's hours were numbered."

Frank neither stirred nor spoke. Just for the moment he might have been taken for a statue.

"Where Bell is, or where he went to, I know not; but from the time I first heard of his disappearance, I feared

← Page-386 p.387 Page-388 →