“But who can it be? There are no tramps in the mountains,” she protested, glancing over her shoulder apprehensively.
“Listen! By Jove, that voice came from the cellar.”
“And the lock is broken,” she exclaimed. “But how silly of me! Ghosts don’t stop for locks.”
“I’ll drop the bolts just the same,” he said, as they hurried down the hallway. At the back stairs they stopped and listened for many minutes. Not a sound came up to them from below. Softly he closed the door and lowered two heavy bars into place. “If there’s any one down there they probably think they’ve heard spooks trotting around up here.”
“Really, it’s quite thrilling, isn’t it?” she whispered, in her excitement.
“In any event, we’re obliged to remain under cover until they depart,” he said thoughtfully. “We can’t be seen here dearest.”
“No,” she murmured, “not even though it is our house.”
They returned to the big room as softly as mice and he left her a moment later to close the heavy window shutters on the porch. When he returned there was a grim smile on his face and his voice shook a little as he spoke.
“I’ve heard the voices again. They came from the laundry I think. The Renwoods were downright Yankees, Penelope; I will swear that these voices are amazingly English.”
IN WHICH THE AUTHOR TRESPASSES
This narrative has quite as much to do with the Bazelhurst side of the controversy as it has with Shaw’s. It is therefore but fair that the heroic invasion by Lord Cecil should receive equal consideration from the historian. Shaw’s conquest of one member of the force opposing him was scarcely the result of bravery; on the other hand Lord Cecil’s dash into the enemy’s country was the very acme of intrepidity. Shaw had victory fairly thrust upon him; Lord Bazelhurst had a thousand obstacles to overcome before he could even so much as stand face to face with the enemy. Hence the expedition that started off in the wake of the deserter deserves more than passing mention.
Down the drive and out into the mountain road clattered the three horsemen. Lady Bazelhurst, watching at the window casement, almost swooned with amazement at the sight of them. The capes of their mackintoshes seemed to flaunt a satirical farewell in her face; their owners, following the light of the carriage lamps, swept from view around a bend in the road.
His lordship had met the duke in the hall, some distance from that nobleman’s room, and, without observing Barminster’s apparent confusion, commanded him to join in the pursuit. Barminster explained that he was going to see how the cook was resting; however, he would go much farther to be of service to the runaway sister of his host.
“She’s broken-hearted,” half sobbed the brother.
“Yes,” agreed the duke; “and what’s a broken leg to a broken heart? Penelope’s heart, at that. Demme, I can’t find the cook’s room, anyway.”