So Falkner—deeply disturbed—leaves her in tears. And begins to plot …
He employs a coachman, who, under orders from Falkner himself, takes Althea by force to a remote cottage; there, Falkner hopes, he can at last convince her to be with him—to flee her creep of a husband.
But she is so terrified—and a storm is raging (of course!)—that she has fallen into a swoon. Falkner, arriving, realizes all of this has been an egregious mistake, and when he goes to help with the horses, he discovers, on his return, that Althea, trying to escape, is in the river. Where, of course, she drowns.
In despair, Falkner flees to Cornwall, where, as we saw at the outset of this novel, a little girl, Elizabeth, prevents his suicide.
Elizabeth finishes reading Falkner’s account and, forgiveness in her heart; she believes all will be well. Falkner returns, and they wait for news from Neville—news he is certain will be a challenge to a duel.
Meanwhile, Neville has been reading Falkner’s accounts of these events, and he is ambivalent. He travels to find his father, who has gone to the spot where Falkner buried Althea. They dig. They find something. With one consent, though in silence, every one gathered nearer and looked in—they saw a human skeleton.
(Well, that was pleasant.)
On her finger, by the way, remains her wedding ring.
And Falkner goes to jail. Murder is the charge.