“Everything is chaos,” she said, “just as it was at Princetown. Uncle Bendigo told me only a few days before these things happened—when he had made up his mind that his brother Robert must be dead—that the law would not recognize his death for a certain period of years. And now we know that he is not dead but that poor Uncle Bendigo is. Yet the law will not recognize his death, either perhaps, seeing that he has not been found. Uncle Robert’s papers and affairs were gone into and he left no will; so his property, when the law sanctions it, would have been divided between his brothers; but now I imagine it all belongs to my uncle in Italy; while, as for poor Uncle Bendigo, I expect that he has made a will, because he was such a methodical man; but what he intended to do with his house and money we cannot tell yet.”
Jenny had nothing to say or suggest that could help Brendon and she was very nervous, desiring to leave the lonely habitation on the cliffs as quickly as possible; but she intended to await Albert Redmayne’s decision.
“This will greatly upset him, I fear,” she said. “He is now the last of ‘the red Redmaynes,’ as our family was called in Australia.”
“Why the adjective?”
“Because we were always red. Every one of my grandfather’s children had red hair, and so had he. His wife was also red—and the only living member of the next generation is red, too, as you see.”
“You are not red. Your hair is a most wonderful auburn, if I may say so.”
She showed no appreciation of the compliment.
“It will soon be grey,” she answered.
A PIECE OF WEDDING CAKE
Albert Redmayne, holding it his duty to come to England, did so, and Jenny met him at Dartmouth after his long journey.
He was a small, withered man with a big head, great, luminous eyes, and a bald scalp. Such hair as yet remained to him was the true Redmayne scarlet; but the nimbus that still adorned his naked skull was streaked with silver and his thin, long beard was also grizzled. He spoke in a gentle, kindly voice, with little Southern gestures. He was clad in a great Italian cloak and a big, slouchy hat, which between them, almost served to extinguish the bookworm.
“Oh, that Peter Ganns were here!” he sighed again and again, while he thrust himself as near as possible to a great coal fire, and Jenny told him every detail of the tragedy.
“They took the bloodhounds to the cave, Uncle Albert, and Mr. Brendon himself watched them working, but nothing came of it. The creatures leaped up the channel from the cave and were soon upon the plateau where the long tunnel opens into the air; but there they seemed to lose their bearings and there was no scent that attracted them, either up to the summit of the cliffs, or down to the rocky beach underneath. They ran about and bayed and presently returned again down the tunnel to the cave. Mr. Brendon has no belief in the value of bloodhounds for a case like this.”