Lair of the White Worm eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about Lair of the White Worm.
she would show no hurry—­she must wait.  She might, in an unostentatious way, come to him again.  She knew him now, and could make a keen guess at his desires with regard to Lilla Watford.  With that secret in her possession, she could bring pressure to bear on Caswall which would make it no easy matter for him to evade her.  The great difficulty was how to get near him.  He was shut up within his Castle, and guarded by a defence of convention which she could not pass without danger of ill repute to herself.  Over this question she thought and thought for days and nights.  At last she decided that the only way would be to go to him openly at Castra Regis.  Her rank and position would make such a thing possible, if carefully done.  She could explain matters afterwards if necessary.  Then when they were alone, she would use her arts and her experience to make him commit himself.  After all, he was only a man, with a man’s dislike of difficult or awkward situations.  She felt quite sufficient confidence in her own womanhood to carry her through any difficulty which might arise.

From Diana’s Grove she heard each day the luncheon-gong from Castra Regis sound, and knew the hour when the servants would be in the back of the house.  She would enter the house at that hour, and, pretending that she could not make anyone hear her, would seek him in his own rooms.  The tower was, she knew, away from all the usual sounds of the house, and moreover she knew that the servants had strict orders not to interrupt him when he was in the turret chamber.  She had found out, partly by the aid of an opera-glass and partly by judicious questioning, that several times lately a heavy chest had been carried to and from his room, and that it rested in the room each night.  She was, therefore, confident that he had some important work on hand which would keep him busy for long spells.

Meanwhile, another member of the household at Castra Regis had schemes which he thought were working to fruition.  A man in the position of a servant has plenty of opportunity of watching his betters and forming opinions regarding them.  Oolanga was in his way a clever, unscrupulous rogue, and he felt that with things moving round him in this great household there should be opportunities of self-advancement.  Being unscrupulous and stealthy—­and a savage—­he looked to dishonest means.  He saw plainly enough that Lady Arabella was making a dead set at his master, and he was watchful of the slightest sign of anything which might enhance this knowledge.  Like the other men in the house, he knew of the carrying to and fro of the great chest, and had got it into his head that the care exercised in its porterage indicated that it was full of treasure.  He was for ever lurking around the turret-rooms on the chance of making some useful discovery.  But he was as cautious as he was stealthy, and took care that no one else watched him.

It was thus that the negro became aware of Lady Arabella’s venture into the house, as she thought, unseen.  He took more care than ever, since he was watching another, that the positions were not reversed.  More than ever he kept his eyes and ears open and his mouth shut.  Seeing Lady Arabella gliding up the stairs towards his master’s room, he took it for granted that she was there for no good, and doubled his watching intentness and caution.

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Lair of the White Worm from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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