“Quite dead,” he said sorrowfully; “my old friend gone at last. One of a fine sort too; a just man for all his temper. They called him ‘devil,’ and he was fierce when he was younger, but if I never meet a worse devil than he was I shall do well. He was very kind to me once— very. How did he go?—in pain, I fear.”
“We were talking together, when suddenly he was seized with the attack. I got the medicine as quick as I could and tried to get it down his throat, but he could not swallow, and in the hurry the glass was knocked by a jerk of his head right out of my hands. Next second he was dead.”
“Very quick—quicker than I should have expected. Did he say anything?”
Now, just as Philip delivered himself of this last lie, a curious incident happened, or rather an incident that is apt to seem curious to a person who has just told a lie. The corpse distinctly moved its right hand—the same that had been clasped over the old man’s head as he denounced his son.
“Good God!” said Philip, turning pale as death, “what’s that?” and even the doctor started a little, and cast a keen look at the dead face.
“Nothing,” he said. “I have seen that happen before where there has been considerable tension of the muscles before death; it is only their final slackening, that is all. Come, will you ring the bell? They had better come and take it upstairs.”
This sad task had just been performed, and Mr. Caley was about to take his leave, when Pigott came down and whispered something into his ear that evidently caused him the most lively astonishment. Drawing Philip aside, he said—
“The housekeeper asks me to come up and see ‘Mrs. Philip Caresfoot,’ whom she thinks is going to be confined. Does she mean your wife?”
“Yes,” answered Philip sullenly, “she does. It is a long story, and I am too upset to tell it you now. It will soon be all over the country I suppose.”
The old doctor whistled, but judged it advisable not to put any more questions, when suddenly an idea seemed to strike him.
“You said you were talking to your father when the fit took him; was it about your marriage?”
“When did he first know of it?”
“To-day, I believe.”
“Ah, thank you;” and he followed Pigott upstairs.
That night, exactly at twelve o’clock, another little lamp floated out on the waters of life: Angela was born.
When the doctor had gone upstairs, Philip went into the dining-room to eat something, only to find that food was repugnant to him; he could scarcely swallow a mouthful. To some extent, however, he supplied its place by wine, of which he drank several glasses. Then, drawn by a strange fascination, he went back into the little study, and, remembering the will, bethought himself that it might be as well to secure it. In taking it off the table, however, a folded and much erased sheet of manuscript was disclosed. Recognizing Bellamy’s writing, he took it up and commenced to read the draft, for it was nothing else. Its substance was as follows.