It was only those who took the first and most obvious step
Coventry was pale indeed, and his mind all in a whirl as to what he should say; for Mr. Carden's sagacity terrified him, and the worst of it was, he felt sure that Grace Carden heard every word.
At last, however, his natural cunning came to his aid, and he made a very artful speech, directed principally to his unseen hearer.
"Mr. Carden," said he, "this seems to me very shrewd; but surely it fails in one respect: you leave the man's character out of the account. Mr. Little came between me and one I love, and inflicted great misery on me; but I will try and be just to him. I don't believe he was an impostor of that kind. He was false in love; he had been reared amongst workmen, and every body says he loved a working-girl more than he did your daughter; but as for his cheating you or any other person out of five thousand pounds, I can't believe it. They all say he was as honest a man in money matters as ever breathed."
"You judge him by yourself. Besides, men begin by deceiving women, but they go on to-- Why, Grace, my poor child-- Good heavens! have you--?"
Grace was leaning against the open window, ghastly and terrible.
"Yes," said she haughtily, "I have been guilty of the meanness of listening, and I suffer for it. It is but one pang more to a broken heart. Mr. Coventry, you are just, you are generous; and I will try and reward you for those words. No, papa, no impostor, but a man sore tried, sore tempted. If he is alive, we shall soon know."
"He will write--TO JAEL DENCE."
Having uttered this strange speech, she rushed away with a wild cry of agony, and nobody saw her face again that night.