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HOME > Inspiring Novel > The Spoils of Poynton > CHAPTER XIX
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 In the place at the corner, on the chance of its saving time, Fleda wrote her telegram—wrote it in silence under Mrs. Gereth's eye and then in silence handed it to her. "I send this to Waterbath, on the possibility of your being there, to ask you to come to me." Mrs. Gereth held it a moment, read it more than once; then keeping it, and with her eyes on her companion, seemed to consider. There was the dawn of a kindness in her look; Fleda perceived in it, as if as the reward of complete submission1, a slight relaxation2 of her rigor3.  
"Wouldn't it perhaps after all be better," she asked, "before doing this, to see if we can make his whereabouts certain?"
"Why so? It will be always so much done," said Fleda. "Though I'm poor," she added with a smile, "I don't mind the shilling."
"The shilling's my shilling," said Mrs. Gereth.
Fleda stayed her hand. "No, no—I'm superstitious4."
"To succeed, it must be all me!"
"Well, if that will make it succeed!" Mrs. Gereth took back her shilling, but she still kept the telegram. "As he's most probably not there—"
"If he shouldn't be there," Fleda interrupted, "there will be no harm done."
"If he 'shouldn't be' there!" Mrs. Gereth ejaculated. "Heaven help us, how you assume it!"
"I'm only prepared for the worst. The Brigstocks will simply send any telegram on."
"Where will they send it?"
"Presumably to Poynton."
"They'll read it first," said Mrs. Gereth.
"Read it?"
"Yes, Mona will. She'll open it under the pretext5 of having it repeated; and then she'll probably do nothing. She'll keep it as a proof of your immodesty."
"What of that?" asked Fleda.
"You don't mind her seeing it?"
Rather musingly6 and absently Fleda shook her head. "I don't mind anything."
"Well, then, that's all right," said Mrs. Gereth as if she had only wanted to feel that she had been irreproachably7 considerate. After this she was gentler still, but she had another point to clear up. "Why have you given, for a reply, your sister's address?"
"Because if he does come to me he must come to me there. If that telegram goes," said Fleda, "I return to Maggie's to-night."
Mrs. Gereth seemed to wonder at this. "You won't receive him here with me?"
"No, I won't receive him here with you. Only where I received him last—only there again." She showed her companion that as to that she was firm.
But Mrs. Gereth had obviously now had some practice in following queer movements prompted by queer feelings. She resigned herself, though she fingered the paper a moment longer. She appeared to hesitate; then she brought out: "You couldn't then, if I release you, make your message a little stronger?"
Fleda gave her a faint smile. "He'll come if he can."
Mrs. Gereth met fully8 what this conveyed; with decision she pushed in the telegram. But she laid her hand quickly upon another form and with still greater decision wrote another message. "From me, this," she said to Fleda when she had finished: "to catch him possibly at Poynton. Will you read it?"
Fleda turned away. "Thank you."
"It's stronger than yours."
"I don't care," said Fleda, moving to the door. Mrs. Gereth, having paid for the second missive, rejoined her, and they drove together to Owen's club, where the elder lady alone got out. Fleda, from the hansom, watched through the glass doors her brief conversation with the hall-porter and then met in silence her return with the news that he had not seen Owen for a fortnight and was keeping his letters till called for. These had been the last orders; there were a dozen letters lying there. He had no more information to give, but they would see what they could find at Colonel Gereth's. To any connection with this inquiry9, however, Fleda now roused herself to object, and her friend had indeed to recognize that on second thoughts it couldn't be quite to the taste of either of them to advertise in the remoter reaches of the family that they had forfeited10 the confidence of the master of Poynton. The letters lying at the club proved effectively that he was not in London, and this was the question that immediately concerned them. Nothing could concern them further till the answers to their telegrams should have had time to arrive. Mrs. Gereth had got back into the cab, and, still at the door of the club, they sat staring at their need of patience. Fleda's eyes rested, in the great hard street, on passing figures that struck her as puppets pulled by strings11. After a little the driver challenged them through the hole in the top. "Anywhere in particular, ladies?"
Fleda decided12. "Drive to Euston, please."
"You won't wait for what we may hear?" Mrs. Gereth asked.
"Whatever we hear, I must go." As the cab went on she added: "But I needn't drag you to the station."
Mrs. Gereth was silent a moment; then "Nonsense!" she sharply replied.
In spite of this sharpness they were now almost equally and almost tremulously mild; though their mildness took mainly the form of an inevitable13 sense of nothing left to say. It was the unsaid that occupied them—the thing that for more than an hour they had been going round and round without naming it. Much too early for Fleda's train, they encountered at the station a long half-hour to wait. Fleda made no further allusion14 to Mrs. Gereth's leaving her; their dumbness, with the elapsing minutes, grew to be in itself a reconstituted bond. They slowly paced the great gray platform, and presently Mrs. Gereth took the girl's arm and leaned on it with a hard demand for supp............
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