They found Mr. Bolt in quite a different frame of mind from their own; he was breathing vengeance. However, he showed some feeling for Grace, and told the doctor plainly he feared the worst. Little had been downhearted for some time, and at last he (Bolt) had lost patience with him, and had proposed to him to take an annual payment of nine hundred pounds instead of a share, and leave the concern. Little had asked two days to consider this proposal. "Now," argued Bolt, "if he meant to leave England, he could not do better than take my offer: and he would have taken it before he left. He would have called, or else sent me a letter. But no; not a word! It's a bad job: I'm fond of money, but I'd give a few thousands to see him alive again. But I don't think I ever shall. There are five hundred thousand bricks of ours in that river, and a foot and a half of mud."
While they were both shuddering at this dark allusion, he went off into idle threats, and Grace left him, sick and cold, and clinging to Dr. Amboyne like a drowning woman.
"Have courage," said Dr. Amboyne. "There is one chance left us. His mother! I will telegraph to Aberystwith."
They drove together to the telegraph-office, and sent a telegram. The doctor would not consent to frighten Mrs. Little to death. He simply asked whether her son had just visited or written to her. The answer was paid for; but four hours elapsed, and no answer came.
Then Grace implored the doctor to go with her to Aberystwith. He looked grave, and said she was undertaking too much. She replied, almost fiercely, that she must do all that could be done, or she should go mad.
"He is in London. I will tell him all when he returns. He would let me go anywhere with you. I must go; I will!"
At four o'clock they were in the train. They spoke to each other but little on the way; their hearts were too full of dire forebodings to talk about nothings. But, when they were in the fly at Aberystwith, going from the station to Mrs. Little's lodgings, Grace laid her head on her friend's shoulder and said, "Oh, doctor, it has come to this; I hope he loved his mother better than me." Then came a flood of tears--the first.
They went to Mrs. Little's lodgings. The landlady had retired to bed, and, on hearing their errand, told them, out of the second- floor window, that Mrs. Little had left her some days ago, and gone to a neighboring village for change of air.