THE VISITOR, AND THE DEATH IN THE SUBTERRANEAN PASSAGE.
About an hour and a half after the baron had retired to rest, and while the landlord was still creeping about enjoining silence on the part of the establishment, so that the slumbers of a wealthy and, no doubt, illustrious personage should not be disturbed, there arrived a horseman at the Anderbury Arms.
He was rather a singular-looking man, with a shifting, uneasy-looking glance, as if he were afraid of being suddenly pounced upon and surprised by some one; and although his apparel was plain, yet it was good in quality, and his whole appearance was such as to induce respectful attention.
The only singular circumstance was, that such a traveller, so well mounted, should be alone; but that might have been his own fancy, so that the absence of an attendant went for nothing. Doubtless, if the whole inn had not been in such a commotion about the illustrious and wealthy baron, this stranger would have received more consideration and attention than he did.
Upon alighting, he walked at once into what is called the coffee-room of the hotel, and after ordering some refreshments, of which he partook but sparingly, he said, in a mild but solemn sort of tone, to the waiter who attended upon him,—
“Tell the Baron Stolmuyer, of Saltzburgh, that there is one here who wants to see him.”
“I beg your pardon, sir,” said the waiter, “but the baron is gone to bed.”
“It matters not to me. If you nor no one else in this establishment will deliver the message I charge you with, I must do so myself.”
“I’ll speak to my master, sir; but the baron is a very great gentleman indeed, and I don’t think my master would like to have him disturbed.”
The stranger hesitated for a time, and then he said,—
“Show me the baron’s apartment. Perhaps I ought not to ask any one person connected with this establishment to disturb him, when I am quite willing to do so myself. Show me the way.”
“Well, but, sir, the baron may get in a rage, and say, very naturally, that we had no business to let anybody walk up to his room and disturb him, because we wouldn’t do so ourselves. So that you see, sir, when you come to consider, it hardly seems the right sort of thing.”
“Since,” said the stranger, rising, “I cannot procure even the common courtesy of being shown to the apartment of the person whom I seek, I must find him myself.”
As he spoke he walked out of the room, and began ascending the staircase, despite the remonstrances of the waiter, who called after him repeatedly, but could not induce him to stop; and when he found that such was the case, he made his way to the landlord, to give the alarm that, for all he knew to the contrary, some one had gone up stairs to murder the baron.