"Have you made any discoveries since you wrote to Emily?"
"No. The mystery is as impenetrable as ever."
As he replied in those terms, Mirabel entered the conservatory from the garden, evidently on his way to the drawing-room.
To see the man, whose introduction to Emily it had been Miss Jethro's mysterious object to prevent--at the very moment when he had been speaking of Miss Jethro herself--was, not only a temptation of curiosity, but a direct incentive (in Emily's own interests) to make an effort at discovery. Alban pursued the conversation with Cecilia, in a tone which was loud enough to be heard in the conservatory.
"The one chance of getting any information that I can see," he proceeded, "is to speak to Mr. Mirabel."
"I shall be only too glad, if I can be of any service to Miss Wyvil and Mr. Morris."
With those obliging words, Mirabel made a dramatic entry, and looked at Cecilia with his irresistible smile. Startled by his sudden appearance, she unconsciously assisted Alban's design. Her silence gave him the opportunity of speaking in her place.
"We were talking," he said quietly to Mirabel, "of a lady with whom you are acquainted."