The Evil Shepherd HTML version

Chapter 21
It was a day when chance was kind to Francis. After leaving his rooms at the Temple, he
made a call at one of the great clubs in Pall Mall, to enquire as to the whereabouts of a
friend. On his way back towards the Sheridan, he came face to face with Margaret
Hilditch, issuing from the doors of one of the great steamship companies. For a moment
he almost failed to recognise her. She reminded him more of the woman of the tea-shop.
Her costume, neat and correct though it was, was studiously unobtrusive. Her motoring
veil, too, was obviously worn to assist her in escaping notice.
She, too, came to a standstill at seeing him. Her first ejaculations betrayed a surprise
which bordered on consternation. Then Francis, with a sudden inspiration, pointed to the
long envelope which she was carrying in her hand.
"You have been to book a passage somewhere!" he exclaimed.
The monosyllable was in her usual level tone. Nevertheless, he could see that she was
"You were going away without seeing me again?"' he asked reproachfully.
"Yes!" she admitted.
She looked up and down a little helplessly.
"I owe you no explanation for my conduct," she said. "Please let me pass."
"Could we talk for a few minutes, please?" he begged. "Tell me where you were going?"
"Oh, back to lunch, I suppose," she answered.
"Your father has been up, looking for you," he told her.
"I telephoned to The Sanctuary," she replied. "He had just left."
"I am very anxious," he continued, "not to distress you, but I cannot let you go away like
this. Will you come to my rooms and let us talk for a little time?"
She made no answer. Somehow, he realised that speech just then was difficult. He called
a taxi and handed her in. They drove to Clarges Street in silence. He led the way up the