Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > Red Money > CHAPTER XV. GUESSWORK.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 Whether Miss Greeby found a difficulty, as was probable, in getting Silver to hand over the forged letter, or whether she had to leave the solution of this mystery to Mother Cockleshell, it is impossible to say. But she certainly did not put in an appearance at Lady Agnes Pine's town house to report progress until after the new year. Nor in the meantime did she visit Lambert, although she wrote to say that she induced the secretary to delay his threatened exposure. The position of things was therefore highly unsatisfactory, since the consequent was painful both to Agnes and her lover. And of course the widow had been duly informed of the interview at the cottage, and naturally expected events to move more rapidly.  
However, taking the wise advice of Isaiah to "Make no haste in time of trouble," Agnes her soul in patience, and did not seek out Miss Greeby in any way, either by visiting or by letter. She attended at her lawyers' offices to supervise her late husband's affairs, and had frequent with Garvington's in connection with the freeing of the Lambert estates. Everything was going on very satisfactorily, even to the improvement of Lambert's health, so Agnes was not at all so ill at ease in her mind as might have been expected. Certainly the sword of Damocles still over her head, and over the head of Lambert, but a consciousness that they were both innocent, assured her inwardly that it would not fall. Nevertheless the beginning of the new year found her in anything but a frame of mind. She was greatly relieved when Miss Greeby at last to pay her a visit.
Luckily Agnes was alone when the lady arrived, as Garvington and his wife were both out enjoying themselves in their several ways. The pair had been staying with the wealthy widow for Christmas, and had not yet taken their departure, since Garvington always tried to live at somebody's expense if possible. He had naturally shut up The during the season, as the villagers expected coals and blankets and port wine and plum-puddings, which he had neither the money nor the to supply. In fact, the greedy little man considered that they should ask for nothing and pay larger rents than they did. By deserting them when peace on earth and to men prevailed, or ought to have prevailed, he disappointed them greatly and over their lamentations. Garvington was very human in some ways.
However, both the corpulent little lord and his untidy wife were out of the way when Miss Greeby was announced, and Agnes was thankful that such was the case, since the interview was bound to be an important one. Miss Greeby, as usual, looked large and aggressively healthy, bouncing into the room like an india-rubber ball. Her town dress differed very little from the she wore in the country, save that she had a feather-trimmed hat instead of a man's cap, and carried an umbrella in place of a bludgeon. A smile, which showed all her strong white teeth in a somewhat carnivorous way, overspread her face as she shook hands vigorously with her hostess. And Miss Greeby's grip was so friendly as to be painful.
"Here you are, Agnes, and here am I. Beastly day, ain't it? Rain and rain and rain again. Seems as though we'd gone back to Father Noah's times, don't it?"
"I expected you before, Clara," remarked Lady Agnes rather hurriedly, and too full of anxiety to discuss the weather.
"Well, I intended to come before," confessed Miss Greeby . "Only, one thing and another prevented me!" Agnes noticed that she did not the . "It was the deuce's own job to get that letter. Oh, by the way, I suppose Lambert told you about the letter?"
"Mr. Silver told me about it, and I told Noel," responded Agnes gravely. "I also heard about your interview with—"
"Oh, that's ages ago, long before Christmas. I should have gone and seen him, to tell about my experiences at the gypsy camp, but I thought that I would learn more before making my report as a detective. By the way, how is Lambert, do you know?"
"He is all right now, and is in town."
"At his old rooms, I suppose. For how long? I want to see him."
"For an indefinite period. Garvington has turned him out of the cottage."
"The deuce! What's that for?"
"Well," said Agnes, explaining reluctantly, "you see Noel paid no rent, as Garvington is his cousin, and when an offer came along offering a pound a week for the place, Garvington said that he was too poor to refuse it. So Noel has taken a small house in Kensington, and Mrs. Tribb has been installed as his . I wonder you didn't know these things."
"Why should I?" asked Miss Greeby, rather aggressively.
"Because it is Mr. Silver who has taken the cottage."
Miss Greeby sat up alertly. "Silver. Oh, indeed. Then that explains why he asked me for leave to stay in the country. Said his health required fresh air, and that London got on his nerves. Hum! hum!" Miss Greeby bit the handle of her umbrella. "So he's taken the Abbot's Wood Cottage, has he? I wonder what that's for?"
"I don't know, and I don't care," said Agnes restlessly. "Of course I could have prevented Garvington letting it to him, since he tried to me, but I thought it was best to see the letter, and to understand his meaning more before telling my brother about his impertinence. Noel wanted me to tell, but I decided not to—in the meantime at all events."
"Silver's meaning is not hard to understand," said Miss Greeby, drily and feeling in her pocket. "He wants to get twenty-five thousand pounds for this." She produced a sheet of paper dramatically. "However, I made the little animal give it to me for nothing. Never mind what arguments I used. I got it out of him, and brought it to show you."
Agnes, paling slightly, took the letter and glanced over it with surprise.
"Well," she said, drawing a long breath, "if I had not been certain that I never wrote such a letter, I should believe that I did. My handwriting has certainly been imitated in a wonderfully accurate way."
"Who imitated it?" asked Miss Greeby, who was watching her eagerly.
"I can't say. But doesn't Mr. Silver—"
"Oh, he knows nothing, or says that he knows nothing. All he swears to is that Chaldea found the letter in Pine's tent the day after his murder, and before Darby had time to search. The envelope had been destroyed, so we don't know if the letter was posted or delivered by hand."
"If I had written such a letter to Noel," said Agnes quietly, "it certainly would have been delivered by hand."
"In which case Pine might have the messenger," put in Miss Greeby. "It couldn't have been sent by post, or Pine would not have got hold of it, unless he Mrs. Tribb into giving it up."
"Mrs. Tribb is not open to , Clara. And as to the letter, I never wrote it, nor did Noel ever receive it."
"It was written from The Manor, anyhow," said Miss Greeby bluntly. "Look at the and the heading. Someone in the house wrote it, if you didn't."
"I'm not so sure of that. The paper might have been stolen."
"Well." Miss Greeby again bit her umbrella handle reflectively. "There's something in that, Agnes. Chaldea told Mrs. Belgrove's fortune in the park, and afterwards she came to the drawing-room to tell it again. I wonder if she stole the paper while she was in the house."
"Even if she did, an uneducated gypsy could not have forged the letter."
"She might have got somebody to do so," suggested Miss Greeby, nodding.
"Then the somebody must be well acquainted with my handwriting," retorted Lady Agnes, and began to study the few lines closely.
She might have written it herself, so much did it resemble her style of writing. The communication stated that the writer, who signed herself "Agnes Pine," would meet "her dearest Noel" outside the blue door, shortly after midnight, and hoped that he would have the motor at the park gates to take them to London en route to Paris. "Hubert is sure to get a divorce," ended the letter, "and then we can marry at once and be happy ever more."
It was certainly a silly letter, and Agnes laughed scornfully.
"I don't express myself in that way," she said contemptuously, and still eyeing the writing wonderingly. "And as I respected my husband and respect myself, I should never have thought of eloping with my cousin, especially from Garvington's house, when I had much better and safer chances of eloping in town. Had Noel received this, he would never have believed that I wrote it, as I assuredly did not. And a 'motor at the park gates,'" she read. "Why not at the postern gate, which leads to the blue door? that would have been safer and more reasonable. Pah! I never heard such rubbish," and she folded up the letter to slip it into her pocket.
Miss Greeby looked rather aghast. "Oh, you must give it back to me," she said hurriedly. "I have to look into the case, you know."
"I shall not give it back to you," said Agnes in a manner. "It is in my possession and shall remain there. I wish to show it to Noel."
"And what am I to say to Silver?"
"Whatever you like. You can manage him, you know."
"He'll make trouble."
"Now that he has lost this weapon"—Agnes touched her pocket—"he can't."
"Well"—Miss Greeby her big shoulders and stood up—"just as you please. But it would be best to leave the letter and the case in my hands."
"I think not," rejoined Agnes decisively. "Noel is now quite well again, and I prefer him to take charge of the matter himself."
"Is that all the thanks I get for my trouble?"
"My dear Clara," said the other cordially, "I am ever so much obliged to you for robbing Mr. Silver of this letter. But I don't wish to put you to any more trouble."
"Just as you please," said Miss Greeby again, and rather . "I wash my hands of the business, and if Silver makes trouble you have only yourself to thank. I advise you also, Agnes, to see Mother Cockleshell and learn what she has to say."
"Does she know anything?"
"She gave me certain mysterious hints that she did. But she appears to have a great opinion of you, my dear, so she may be more open with you than she was with me."
"Where is she to be found?"
"I don't know. Chaldea is queen of the tribe, which is still camped on the of Abbot's Wood. Mother Cockleshell has gone away on her own. Have you any idea who wrote the letter?"
Agnes took out the forged missive again and studied it. "Not in the least," she said, shaking her head.
"Do you know of any one who can imitate your handwriting?"
"Not that I know—oh," she stopped suddenly and grew as white as the widow's cap she wore. "Oh," she said blankly.
"What is it?" demanded Miss Greeby, on fire with curiosity. "Have you thought of any one?"
Agnes shook her head again and placed the letter in her pocket. "I can think of no one," she said in a low voice.
Miss Greeby did not believe this, as the sudden and the paleness hinted at some unexpected thought, probably connected with the . Howe............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved