The Vanished Messenger HTML version

Chapter 4
"My advice to you, sir, is to chuck it!"
Gerald turned towards the chauffeur by whose side he was seated a little stiffly, for his
limbs were numbed with the cold and exhaustion. The morning had broken with a grey
and uncertain light. A vaporous veil of mist seemed to have taken the place of the
darkness. Even from the top of the hill where the car had come to a standstill, there was
little to be seen.
"We must have come forty miles already," the chauffeur continued, "what with going out
of our way all the time because of the broken bridges. I'm pretty well frozen through, and
as for him," he added, jerking his thumb across his shoulder, "it seems to me you're
taking a bit of a risk."
"The doctor said he would remain in exactly the same condition for twenty-four hours,"
Gerald declared.
"Yes, but he didn't say anything about shaking him up over forty miles of rough road,"
the other protested. "You'll excuse me, sir," he continued, in a slightly changed tone; "it
isn't my business, of course, but I'm fairly done. It don't seem reasonable to stick at it like
this. There's Holt village not a mile away, and a comfortable inn and a fire waiting. I
thought that was as far as you wanted to come. We might lie up there for a few hours, at
any rate."
His passenger slipped down from his place, and, lifting the rug, peered into the tonneau
of the car, over which they had tied a hood. To all appearance, the condition of the man
who lay there was unchanged. There was a slightly added blueness about the lps but his
breathing was still perceptible. It seemed even a little stronger. Gerald resumed his seat.
"It isn't worth while to stay at Holt," he said quietly. "We are scarcely seven miles from
home now. Sit still for a few minutes and get your wind."
"Only seven miles," the chauffeur repeated more cheerfully. "That's something, anyway."
"And all downhill."
"Towards the sea, then?"
"Straight to the sea," Gerald told him. "The place we are making for is St. David's Hall,
near Salthouse."
The chauffeur seemed a little startled.
"'Why, that's Squire Fentolin's house!"
Gerald nodded.
"That is where we are going. You follow this road almost straight ahead."
The chauffeur slipped in the clutch.