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.
For some reason which he did not try to explain to himself, he was glad of his silence, when, on the following morning, he found, on looking out, that the point over which the kite then hovered was Mercy Farm.  When he had verified this with his instruments, he sat before the window of the tower, looking out and thinking.  The new locality was more to his liking than the other; but the why of it puzzled him, all the same.  He spent the rest of the day in the turret-room, which he did not leave all day.  It seemed to him that he was now drawn by forces which he could not control—­of which, indeed, he had no knowledge—­in directions which he did not understand, and which were without his own volition.  In sheer helpless inability to think the problem out satisfactorily, he called up a servant and told him to tell Oolanga that he wanted to see him at once in the turret-room.  The answer came back that the African had not been seen since the previous evening.

Caswall was now so irritable that even this small thing upset him.  As he was distrait and wanted to talk to somebody, he sent for Simon Chester, who came at once, breathless with hurrying and upset by the unexpected summons.  Caswall bade him sit down, and when the old man was in a less uneasy frame of mind, he again asked him if he had ever seen what was in Mesmer’s chest or heard it spoken about.

Chester admitted that he had once, in the time of “the then Mr. Edgar,” seen the chest open, which, knowing something of its history and guessing more, so upset him that he had fainted.  When he recovered, the chest was closed.  From that time the then Mr. Edgar had never spoken about it again.

When Caswall asked him to describe what he had seen when the chest was open, he got very agitated, and, despite all his efforts to remain calm, he suddenly went off into a faint.  Caswall summoned servants, who applied the usual remedies.  Still the old man did not recover.  After the lapse of a considerable time, the doctor who had been summoned made his appearance.  A glance was sufficient for him to make up his mind.  Still, he knelt down by the old man, and made a careful examination.  Then he rose to his feet, and in a hushed voice said: 

“I grieve to say, sir, that he has passed away.”

CHAPTER XV—­ON THE TRACK

Those who had seen Edgar Caswall familiarly since his arrival, and had already estimated his cold-blooded nature at something of its true value, were surprised that he took so to heart the death of old Chester.  The fact was that not one of them had guessed correctly at his character.  They thought, naturally enough, that the concern which he felt was that of a master for a faithful old servant of his family.  They little thought that it was merely the selfish expression of his disappointment, that he had thus lost the only remaining clue to an interesting piece of family history—­one which was now and would be for ever wrapped in mystery.  Caswall knew enough about the life of his ancestor in Paris to wish to know more fully and more thoroughly all that had been.  The period covered by that ancestor’s life in Paris was one inviting every form of curiosity.

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