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HOME > Classical Novels > Red Money > CHAPTER VIII.AT MIDNIGHT.
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 Silver's delivery of his employer's orders to Lord Garvington were carried out, for no further intimation was given to the gypsies that they were to vacate Abbot's Wood. The master of The a good deal at the high tone taken by his brother-in-law, as, having the instincts of a landlord, he strongly objected to the presence of such riff-raff on his estates. However, as Pine had the whip-hand of him, he was obliged to yield, although he could not understand why the man should favor the Romany in this way.  
"Some of his infernal philanthropy, I suppose," said Garvington, in a tone of disgust, to the secretary. "Pine's always doing this sort of thing, and people ain't a bit grateful."
"Well," said Silver dryly, "I suppose that's his look-out."
"If it is, let him keep to his own side of the road," retorted the other. "Since I don't with his business, let him not with mine."
"As he holds the mortgage and can foreclose at any moment, it is his business," insisted Silver . "And, after all, the gypsies are doing no very great harm."
"They will if they get the chance. I'd string up the whole lot if I had my way, Silver. Poachers and blackguards every one of them. I know that Pine is always rotters in London, but I didn't know that he had any cause to interfere with this lot. How did he come to know about them?"
"Well, Mr. Lambert might have told him," answered the secretary, not to draw that young man into the trouble. "He is at Abbot's Wood."
"Yes, I lent him the cottage, and this is my reward. He with my business along with Pine. Why can't he shut his mouth?"
"I don't say that Mr. Lambert did tell him, but he might have done so."
"I am quite sure that he did," said Garvington emphatically, and growing red all over his face. "Otherwise Pine would never have heard, since he is in Paris. I shall speak to Lambert."
"You won't find him at home. I looked in at his cottage to pass the time, and his said that he had gone to London all of a sudden, this very evening."
"Oh, he'll turn up again," said Garvington carelessly. "He's sick of town, Silver, since—" The little man hesitated.
"Since when?" asked the secretary .
"Never mind," retorted the other gruffly, for he did not wish to mention the enforced marriage of his sister, to Silver. Of course, there was no need to, as Garvington, aware that the neat, foxy-faced man was his brother-in-law's , felt sure that everything was known to him. "I'll leave those blamed gypsies alone meanwhile," finished Garvington, changing and finishing the conversation. "But I'll speak to Pine when I see him."
"He returns from Paris in three weeks," remarked Silver, at which information the gross little lord simply his fat shoulders. Much as Pine had done for him, Garvington hated the man with all the power of his mean and narrow mind, and as the millionaire returned this dislike with a feeling of profound contempt, the two met as seldom as possible. Only Lady Agnes was the link between them, the visible object of sale and , which had been sold by one to the other.
It was about this time that the house-party at The Manor began to break up; since it was now the first week in September, and many of the shooters wished to go north for better sport. Many of the men departed, and some of the women, who were due at other country houses; but Mrs. Belgrove and Miss Greeby still remained. The first because she found herself extremely comfortable, and appreciated Garvington's cook; and the second on account of Lambert being in the vicinity. Miss Greeby had been very disappointed to learn that the young man had gone to London, but heard from Mrs. Tribb that he was expected back in three days. She therefore lingered so as to have another conversation with him, and meanwhile haunted the gypsy camp for the purpose of keeping an eye on Chaldea, who was much too beautiful for her peace of mind. Sometimes Silver accompanied her, as the lady had given him to understand that she knew Pine's real rank and name, so the two were made free of the Bohemians and frequently chatted with Ishmael Hearne. But they kept his secret, as did Chaldea; and Garvington had no idea that the man he and hated—who flung money to him as if he were tossing a bone to a dog—was within speaking distance. If he had known, he would assuredly have guessed the reason why Sir Hubert Pine had interested himself in the doings of a wandering tribe of creatures.
A week passed away and still, although Miss Greeby made daily , Lambert did not put in an appearance at the forest cottage. Thinking that he had departed to escape her, she made up her impatient mind to repair to London, and to hunt him up at his club. With this idea she intimated to Lady Garvington that she was leaving The Manor early next morning. The ladies had just left the dinner-table, and were having coffee in the drawing-room when Miss Greeby made this announcement.
"Oh, my dear," said Lady Garvington, in dismay. "I wish you would change your mind. Nearly everyone has gone, and the house is getting quite dull."
"Thanks ever so much," remarked Mrs. Belgrove lightly. She sat near the fire, for the evening was , and what with paint and powder, and hair-dye, to say nothing of her and carefully chosen dress, looked barely thirty-five in the lights cast by the shaded lamps.
"I don't mean you, dear," murmured the hostess, who was even more untidy and helpless than usual. "You are quite a host in yourself. And that recipe you gave me for Patagonian soup kept Garvington in quite a good humor for ever so long. But the house will be dull for you without Clara."
"Agnes is here, Jane."
"I fear Agnes is not much of an entertainer," said that lady, smiling in a weary manner, for this society bored her greatly.
"That's not to be wondered at," struck in Miss Greeby . "For of course you are thinking of your husband."
Lady Agnes colored slightly under Miss Greeby's very direct gaze, but replied equably enough, to save appearances, "He is still in Paris."
"When did you last hear from him, dear?" questioned Lady Garvington, more to manufacture conversation than because she really cared.
"Only to-day I had a letter. He is carrying out some special business and will return in two or three weeks."
"You will be glad to see him, no doubt," Miss Greeby.
"I am always glad to see my husband and to be with him," answered Lady Agnes in a manner. She knew well that Miss Greeby hated her, and guessed the reason, but she was not going to give her any satisfaction by revealing the true feelings of her heart.
"Well, I intend to stay here, Jane, if it's all the same to you," cried Mrs. Belgrove in her liveliest manner and with a side glance, taking in both Miss Greeby and Lady Agnes. "Only this morning I received a chit-chat letter from Mr. Lambert—we are great friends you know—saying that he intended to come here for a few days. Such a man he is."
"Oh, dear me, yes," cried Lady Garvington, starting. "I remember. He wrote yesterday from London, asking if he might come. I told him yes, although I mentioned that we had hardly anyone with us just now."
Miss Greeby looked greatly annoyed, as Mrs. Belgrove saw, for she knew well that the heiress would now regret having so hastily intimated her approaching departure. What was the expression on Lady Agnes's face, the old lady could not see, for the millionaire's wife shielded it—presumably from the fire—with a large fan of white feathers. Had Mrs. Belgrove been able to read that she would have seen satisfaction written thereon, and would probably have set down the expression to a wrong cause. In reality, Agnes was glad to think that Lambert's promise was being kept, and that he no longer intended to avoid her company so openly.
But if she was pleased, Miss Greeby was not, and still continued to look annoyed, since she had burnt her boats by announcing her departure. And what annoyed her still more than her hasty decision was, that she would leave Lambert in the house along with the rival she most dreaded. Though what the young man could see in this pale, washed-out creature Miss Greeby could not imagine. She glanced at a near mirror and saw her own opulent, full-blown looks clothed in a pale-blue dinner-gown, which went so well—as she inartistically , with her ruddy locks, Mrs. Belgrove considered that Miss Greeby looked like a paint-box, or a sunset, or one of Turner's most vivid pictures, but the heiress was very well pleased with herself. Lady Agnes, in her favorite white, with her pale face and serious looks, was but a dull person of the . And Miss Greeby did not think that Lambert cared for , when he had an Amazonian intelligent pal—so she put it—at hand. But, of course, he might prefer dark beauties like Chaldea. Poor Miss Greeby; she was pursuing her wooing under very great difficulties, and became silent in order to think out some way of in some natural manner the information of her departure.
There were other women in the room, who joined in the conversation, and all were glad to hear that Mr. Lambert intended to pay a visit to his cousin, for, indeed, the young man was a general favorite. And then as two or three decided—Mrs. Belgrove amongst the number—there really could be nothing in the report that he loved Lady Agnes still, else he would scarcely come and stay where she was. As for Pine's wife, she was a washed-out creature, who had never really loved her cousin as people had thought. And after all, why should she, since he was so poor, especially when she was married to a millionaire with the looks of an Eastern prince, and manners of quite an original nature, although these were not quite conventional. Oh, yes, there was nothing in the scandal that said Garvington had sold his sister to up the family property. Lady Agnes was quite happy, and her husband was a dear man, who left her a great deal to her own devices—which he wouldn't have done had he suspected the cousin; and who gave her pots of money to spend. And what more could a sensible woman want?
In this way those in the drawing-room , while Agnes stared into the fire, herself to encounter Lambert, who would surely arrive within the next two or three days, and while Miss Greeby herself for having so foolishly intimated her departure. Then the men straggled in from their wine, and bridge became the order of the night with some, while others begged for music. After a song or so and the execution of a Beethoven , to which no one paid any attention, a young lady gave a dance after the manner of Maud Allan, to which everyone attended. Then came of strength, in which Miss Greeby proved herself to be a female Sandow, and later a number of the guests sojourned to the billiard-room to play. When they grew weary of that, tobogganing down the broad staircase on trays was suggested and indulged in amidst of laughter. Afterwards, those heated by this horse-play strayed on to the terrace to breathe the fresh air, and in the moonlight. In fact, every conceivable way of passing the time was taken advantage of by these very bored people, who scarcely knew how to get through the long evening.
"They seem to be enjoying themselves, Freddy," said Lady Garvington to her husband, when she drifted against him in the course of attending to her guests. "I really think they find this jolly."
"I don't care a red what they find," retorted the little man, who was looking worried, and not quite his usual self. "I wish the whole lot would get out of the house. I'm sick of them."
"Ain't you well, Freddy? I knew that Patagonian soup was too rich for you."
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