The outcry brought Philip and old Jakes running down to the lake. They found Angela standing alone on the brink and laughing her wildest.
“See,” she cried, as they came panting up, “the bridegroom cometh from his chamber,” and at that moment some unreleased air within the body brought it up for an instant to the surface, so that the torn and ghastly face and head emerged for a second as though to look at them. Then it sank again.
“The brave dog holds him well—ha, ha, ha! He cannot catch me now—ha, ha, ha! Nor you, Judas, who sold me. Judas! Judas! Judas!” and, turning, she fled with the speed of the wind.
Mr. Fraser had but just come down, and was walking in his garden, when he saw this dreadful figure come flying towards him with streaming hair.
“Betrayed,” she cried, in a voice which rang like the wail of a lost soul, and fell on her face at his feet.
When she came back to life they found that she was mad.
The news of George Caresfoot’s tragic death was soon common property, and following as it did so hard upon his marriage, which now was becoming known, and within a few hours of the destruction of his house by fire, it caused no little excitement. It cannot be said that the general feeling was one of very great regret; it was not. George Caresfoot had commanded deference as a rich man, but he certainly had not won affection. Still his fate excited general interest and sympathy, though some people were louder in their regrets over the death of such a plucky dog as Aleck, than over that of the man he killed, but then these had a personal dislike of George. When, however, it came to be rumoured that the dog had attacked George because George had struck the dog’s mistress, general sympathy veered decidedly towards the dog. By-and-by, as some of the true facts of the case came out, namely, that Angela Caresfoot had gone mad, that her lover, who was supposed to be dead, had been seen in Rewtham on the evening of the wedding, that the news of Mr. Heigham’s death had been concocted to bring about the marriage, and last, but not least, that the Isleworth estates had passed into the possession of Philip Caresfoot, public opinion grew very excited, and the dog Aleck was well spoken of.
When Sir John Bellamy stepped out on the platform at Roxham on his return from London that day, his practised eye saw at once that something unusual had occurred. A group of county magistrates returning from quarter sessions were talking excitedly together whilst waiting for their train. He knew them all well, but at first they seemed inclined to let him pass without speaking to him. Presently, however, one of them turned, and spoke to him.