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MRS. LECOUNT mixed the sal volatile with
water, and administered it immediately. The
stimulant had its effect. In a few minutes, Noel
Vanstone was able to raise himself in the chair
without assistance: his colour changed again
for the better, and his breath came and went
more freely.

"How do you feel now, sir?" asked Mrs.
Lecount. "Are you warm again, on your left

He paid no attention to that inquiry: his eyes,
wandering about the room, turned by chance
towards the table. To Mrs. Lecount's surprise,
instead of answering her, he bent forward in
his chair, and looked with staring eyes and pointing
hand at the second bottle which she had
taken from the cupboard, and which she had
hastily laid aside, without paying attention to it.
Seeing that some new alarm possessed him, she
advanced to the table, and looked where he
looked. The labelled side of the bottle was full
in view; and there, in the plain handwriting of
the chemist at Aldborough, was the one startling
word, confronting them both- Poison."

Even Mrs. Lecount's self-possession was
shaken by that discovery. She was not prepared
to see her own darkest forebodings-the
unacknowledged offspring of her hatred for Magdalen
-- realised as she saw them realised now. The
suicide-despair in which the poison had been
procured; the suicide-purpose for which, in distrust
of the future, the poison had been kept,
had brought with them their own retribution.
There the bottle lay, in Magdalen's absence, a
false witness of treason which had never entered
her mind —— treason against her husband's life!

With his hand still mechanically pointing at
the table, Noel Vanstone raised his head, and
looked up at Mrs. Lecount.

"I took it from the cupboard," she said,
answering the look. " I took both bottles out
together, not knowing which might be the bottle
I wanted. I am as much shocked, as much
frightened, as you are."

"Poison!" he said to himself slowly.  "Poison
locked up by my wife, in the cupboard in her
own room." He stopped, and looked at Mrs.
Lecount once more. " For me?" he asked, in a
vacant, inquiring tone.

"We will not talk of it, sir, until your mind
is more at ease," said Mrs. Lecount. "  In the
mean time, the danger that lies waiting in this
bottle, shall be a danger destroyed in your
presence."  She took out the cork, and threw
the laudanum out of window, and the empty
bottle after it. " Let us try to forget this dreadful
discovery for the present," she resumed;
"let us go down stairs at once. All that I have
now to say to you, can be said in another room."

She helped him to rise from the chair, and
took his arm in her own. " It is well for him;
it is well for me," she thought, as they went down
stairs together, " that I came when I did."

On crossing the passage, she stepped to the
front door, where the carriage was waiting which
had brought her from Dumfries, and instructed
the coachman to put up his horses at the nearest
inn, and to call again for her in two hours' time.
This done, she accompanied Noel Vanstone into
the sitting-room, stirred up the fire, and placed
him before it comfortably in an easy-chair. He
sat for a few minutes, warming his hands feebly
like an old man, and staring straight into the
flame. Then he spoke.

"When the woman came and threatened me in
Vauxhall Walk," he began, still staring into the
fire, " you came back to the parlour, after she
was gone; and you told me --?" He stopped,
shivered a little, and lost the thread of his
recollections at that point.

"I told you, sir," said Mrs. Lecount, "that
the woman was, in my opinion, Miss Vanstone
herself.  Don't start, Mr. Noel! Your wife is away,
and I am here to take care of you! Say to
yourself, if you feel frightened, ' Lecount is here;
Lecount will take care of me.' The truth must
be told sirhowever hard to bear the truth may
be. Miss Magdalen Vanstone was the woman who
came to you in disguise; and the woman who came
to you in disguise, is the woman you have married.
The conspiracy which she threatened you with in
London, is the conspiracy which has made her
your wife. That is the plain truth. You have
seen the dress up-stairs. If that dress had been
no longer in existence, I should still have had
my proofs to convince you. Thanks to my
interview with Mrs. Bygrave, I have discovered the