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HOME > Classical Novels > Red Money > CHAPTER XVII. ON THE TRAIL.
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 Great was the excitement in society when it became known—through the medium of a newspaper paragraph—that Lady Agnes Pine had surrendered two millions to become Mrs. Noel Lambert. Some romantic people praised her as a noble woman, who placed love above money, while others loudly declared her to be a superlative fool. But one and all agreed that she must have loved her cousin all the time, and that clearly the marriage with the deceased millionaire had been forced on by Garvington, for family reasons connected with the poverty of the Lamberts. It was believed that the fat little egotist had obtained his price for selling his sister, and that his estates had been freed from all claims through the of Pine. Of course, this was not the case; but the fact was unknown to the general public, and Garvington was credited with an income which he did not possess.  
The man himself was furious at having been tricked. He put it in this way, quite to his own actions, which had brought about such a result. He could not plead ignorance on this score, as Agnes had written him a letter announcing her marriage, and plainly stating her reasons for giving up her late husband's fortune. She ironically advised him to seek out the person to whom the money would pass, and to see if he could not that individual. Garvington, angry as he was, took the advice seriously, and sought out Jarwin. But that individual declined to satisfy his curiosity, guessing what use he would make of the information. In due time, as the said, the name of the lucky legatee would be made public, and with this assurance Garvington was obliged to be content.
Meanwhile the happy pair—and they truly were extremely happy—heard nothing of the , and were indifferent to either praise or blame. They were all in all to one another, and lived in a kind of Paradise, on the south coast of Devonshire. On one of his tours Lambert had discovered a old-world village, tucked away in a fold of the moorlands, and hither he brought his wife for the golden hours of the . They lived at the small inn and were attended to by a gigantic , who made them very comfortable. Mrs. "Anak," as Noel called her, took the young couple for poor but people, since Agnes had dropped her title, as unsuited to her now position.
"And in the Colonies," she explained to her husband, during a moorland , "it would be absurd for me to be called 'my lady.' Mrs. Noel Lambert is good enough for me."
"Quite so, dear, if we ever do go to the Colonies."
"We must, Noel, as we have so little to live on."
"Oh, one thousand a year isn't so bad," he answered good-humoredly. "It may seem poverty to you, who have been used to millions, my darling; but all my life I have been hard up, and I am thankful for twenty pounds a week."
"You speak as though I had been wealthy all my life, Noel. But remember that I was as hard up as you before I married Hubert, poor soul."
"Then, dear, you must appreciate the fact that we can never starve. Besides I hope to make a name as a painter."
"In the Colonies?"
"Why not? Art is to be found there as in England. Change of scene does not destroy any talent one may possess. But I am not so sure, darling, if it is wise to leave England—at least until we learn who murdered Pine."
"Oh, my dear, do let us leave that question alone. The truth will never become known."
"It must become known, Agnes," said Lambert firmly. "Remember that Silver and Chaldea practically accuse us of murdering your husband."
"They know it is a lie, and won't proceed further," said Agnes hopefully.
"Oh, yes, they will, and Miss Greeby also."
"Clara! Why, she is on our side."
"Indeed she is not. Your guess that she was still in love with me turns out to be quite correct. I received a letter from her this morning, which was forwarded from Kensington. She reproaches me with marrying you after the trouble she took in getting the forged letter back from Silver."
"But you told me that she said she would help you as a friend."
"She did so, in order—to use an phrase—to pull the wool over my eyes. But she intended—and she puts her intention plainly in her letter—to help me in order to secure my , and then she counted upon my making her my wife."
Agnes flushed. "I might have guessed that she would act in that way. When you told me that she was I had a suspicion what she was aiming at. What else does she say?"
"Oh, all manner of things, more or less silly. She hints that I have acted meanly in causing you to two millions, and says that no man of honor would act in such a way."
"I see," said Mrs. Lambert coolly. "She believed that my possession of the money would be even a greater barrier to our coming together than the fact of my being married to Hubert. Well, dear, what does it matter?"
"A great deal, Agnes," replied Noel, wrinkling his brows. "She intends to make , and she can, with the aid of Silver, who is naturally furious at having lost his chance of . Then there's Chaldea—"
"She can do nothing."
"She can join forces with Miss Greeby and the secretary, and they will do their best to get us into trouble. To defend ourselves we should have to explain that Garvington wrote the letter, and then heaven only knows what disgrace would befall the name."
"But you don't believe that Freddy is guilty?" asked Agnes anxiously.
"Oh, no. Still, he wrote that letter which Pine to his death, and if such a mean act became known, he would be disgraced forever."
"Freddy has such criminal instincts," said Mrs. Lambert gloomily, "that I am quite sure he will sooner or later stand in the dock."
"We must keep him out of it as long as we can," said Noel decisively. "For that reason I intend to leave you here and go to Garvington."
"To see Freddy?"
"Yes, and to see Chaldea, and to call on Silver, who is living in my old cottage. Also I wish to have a conversation with Miss Greeby. In some way, my dear, I must settle these people, or they will make trouble. Have you noticed, Agnes, what a number of gypsies seem to cross our path?"
"Yes; but there are many gypsies in Devonshire."
"No doubt, but many gypsies do not come to this spot as a rule, and yet they seem to . Chaldea is having us watched."
"For what reason?" Agnes opened her astonished eyes.
"I wish to learn. Chaldea is now a queen, and evidently has sent instructions to her kinsfolk in this county to keep an eye on us."
Agnes for a few minutes. "I met Mother Cockleshell yesterday," she observed; "but I thought nothing of it, as she belongs to Devonshire."
"I believe Mother Cockleshell is on our side, dear, since she is so grateful to you for looking after her when she was sick. But Kara has been about, and we know that he is Chaldea's lover."
"Then," said Mrs. Lambert, rising from the heather on which they had seated themselves, "it will be best to face Mother Cockleshell and Kara in order to learn what all this spying means."
Lambert approved of this suggestion, and the two returned to Mrs. "Anak's" to watch for the gypsies. But, although they saw two or three, or even more during the next few days, they did not set eyes on the Servian , or on Gentilla Stanley. Then—since it never rains but it pours—the two came together to the inn. Agnes saw them through the window, and walked out boldly to confront them. Noel was absent at the moment, so she had to conduct the examination alone.
"Gentilla, why are you spying on me and my husband?" asked Agnes .
The respectable woman dropped a curtsey and clutched the shoulder of Kara, who showed a to run away. "I'm no spy, my angel," said the old creature with a cunning glint in her eyes. "It's this one who keeps watch."
"For what reason?"
"Bless you, my lady—"
"Don't call me by my title. I've dropped it."
"Only for a time, my dear. I have read your fortune in the stars, my Gorgio one, and higher you will be with money and rank than ever you have been in past days. But not with the child's approval."
"The child. What child?"
"Chaldea, no less. She's raging mad, as the golden rye has made you his romi, my sweet one, and she has set many besides Kara to overlook you."
"So Mr. Lambert and I thought. And Chaldea's reason?"
"She would make trouble," replied Mother Cockleshell mysteriously. "But Kara does not wish her to love the golden rye—as she still does—since he would have the child to himself." She turned and rapidly in Romany to the small man in the faded green coat.
Kara listened with twinkling eyes, and pulling at his heavy beard with one hand, while he held the neck of his violin with the other. When Mother Cockleshell ceased he poured out a flood of the kalo jib with much gesticulation, and in a voice which boomed like a gong. Of course, Mrs. Lambert did not understand a word of his speech, and looked inquiringly at Gentilla.
"Kara says," translated the woman hurriedly, "that he is your friend, since he is glad you are the golden rye's romi. Ever since you left Lundra the child has set him and others to spy on you. She makes mischief, does the child in her witchly way."
"Ask him," said Agnes, indicating the dwarf, "if he knows who murdered my late husband?"
Gentilla asked the question and translated the reply. "He knows nothing, but the child knows much. I go back to the wood in Hengishire, my dear, to bring about much that will astonish Chaldea—curses on her evil heart. Tell the rye to meet me at his old cottage in a week. Then the wrong will be made right," ended Mother Cockleshell, speaking quite in the style of Meg Merrilees, and very . "And happiness will be yours. By this and this I bless you, my precious lady," making several mystical signs, she turned away, forcing the reluctant Kara to follow her.
"But, Gentilla?" Agnes hurried in pursuit.
"No! no, my Gorgious. It is not the time. Seven days, and seven hours, and seven minutes will hear the striking of the moment. Sarishan, my deary."
Mother Cockleshell hobbled away with surprising , and Mrs. Lambert returned thoughtfully to the inn. Evidently the old woman knew of something which would solve the mystery, else she would scarcely have asked Noel to meet her in Hengishire. And being an enemy to Chaldea, who had her, Agnes was quite sure that Gentilla would work her hardest to the younger gypsy's plans. It flashed across her mind that Chaldea herself might have murdered Pine. But since his death would have removed the barrier between Lambert and herself, Agnes could not believe that Chaldea was guilty. The affair seemed to become more involved every time it was looked into.
However, Mrs. Lambert related to her husband that same evening all that had taken place, and duly delivered the old gypsy's message. Noel listened quietly and nodded. He made up his mind to keep the appointment in Abbot's Wood the moment he received the intelligence. "And you can stay here, Agnes," he said.
"No, no," she pleaded. "I wish to be beside you."
"There may be danger, my dear. Chaldea will not stick at a trifle to revenge herself, you know."
"All the more reason that I should be with you," insisted Agnes. "Besides, these are plotting against me as much as against you, so it is only fair that I should be on the spot to defend myself."
"You have a husband to defend you now, Agnes. Still, as I know you will be anxious if I leave you in this out-of-the-way place, it will be best for us both to go to London. There is a telephone at Wanbury, and I can communicate with you at once should it be necessary."
"Of course it will be necessary," said Mrs. Lambert with fond . "I shall worry dreadfully to think that you are in danger. I don't wish to lose you now that we are together."
"You can depend upon my keeping out of danger, for your sake, dear," said the young man, her. "Moreover, Mother Cockleshell will look after me should Chaldea try any of her Romany tricks. Stay in town, darling.&quo............
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