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Book VI. Here And There
Chapter 55. Mirabel Sees His Way
Reaching the hotel at which he was accustomed to stay when he was in London,
Mirabel locked the door of his room. He looked at the houses on the opposite
side of the street. His mind was in such a state of morbid distrust that he lowered
the blind over the window. In solitude and obscurity, the miserable wretch sat
down in a corner, and covered his face with his hands, and tried to realize what
had happened to him.
Nothing had been said at the fatal interview with Emily, which could have given
him the slightest warning of what was to come. Her father's name--absolutely
unknown to him when he fled from the inn--had only been communicated to the
public by the newspaper reports of the adjourned inquest. At the time when those
reports appeared, he was in hiding, under circumstances which prevented him
from seeing a newspaper. While the murder was still a subject of conversation,
he was in France--far out of the track of English travelers--and he remained on
the continent until the summer of eighteen hundred and eighty-one. No exercise
of discretion, on his part, could have extricated him from the terrible position in
which he was now placed. He stood pledged to Emily to discover the man
suspected of the murder of her father; and that man was--himself!
What refuge was left open to him?
If he took to flight, his sudden disappearance would be a suspicious
circumstance in itself, and would therefore provoke inquiries which might lead to
serious results. Supposing that he overlooked the risk thus presented, would he
be capable of enduring a separation from Emily, which might be a separation for
life? Even in the first horror of discovering his situation, her influence remained