Edward from puzzled looked very grave. "What a head you have got, mamma!" he said. "I should never have seen all this: yet it's plain enough now, as you put it."
"Yes, it is plain. Our darling is betrothed to a maniac; that maniac loves her, and much I fear she loves him. Some new calamity is impending. Oh, my son, I feel it already heavy on my heart. What is it to be? Is your father to be led to destruction, or will that furious wretch burst in upon your sister, and kill her, or perhaps kill Mr. Hard, if he catches them together? What may not happen now? The very air seems to me swarming with calamities."
"Oh, I'll take care of all that," said Edward. And he comforted her a little by promising faithfully not to let Julia go out of his sight till her return.
She put on a plain travelling-dress. The dog-cart came. She slipped fifty sovereigns into Mr. Green's hands for expenses, and off they went at a slapping pace. The horse was a great bony hunter of rare speed and endurance, and his long stride and powerful action raised poor Mrs. Dodd's hopes, and the rushing air did her good. Green, to her surprise, made few inquiries for some miles on the Dover road; but he explained to her that the parties they were after had probably walked all night. "They don't tire, that sort," said Mr. Green.
At Dartford they got a doubtful intimation, on the strength of which he rattled on to Rochester. There he pulled up, deposited Mrs. Dodd at the principal inn till morning, and scoured the town for intelligence.
He inquired of all the policemen; described his men, and shrewdly added out of his intelligence, "Both splashed and dirty."
No, the Bobbies had not seen them.
Then he walked out to the side of the town nearest London, and examined all the dealers in food. At last he found a baker who, early that morning, had sold a quartern loaf to two tall men without hats, "and splashed fearful; " he added, "thought they had broken prison; but 'twas no business of mine: they paid for the bread right enough."