The flaming red spots, all foreign to her usual complexion, blazed on either cheek-bone; her black eyes shone like the eyes of a tigress crouched in a jungle.
But she never faltered—she never wavered in her deadly purpose. The aim of her whole life was to be fulfilled this night—the manes of her dead kinsfolk to be appeased.
Her first act was to sit down and write a note. It was very brief, illy spelled, vilely written, on a sheet of coarsest paper, and sealed with a big blotch of red wax and the impress of a grimy thumb. This is what Miss Silver wrote:
HONURED SIR:—This is to Say that my Lady is Promised the hamerican Gent, for to meet him this Night at Midnight on the Stone Terrace, Which honoured Sir you ought to Know, which is why I write.
Yours too Command, A FRIEND.
“This will do it, I think. Sir Everard will visit the stone terrace to-night before he sleeps. It will be fully eleven, probably half past, before be comes home. He will find this anonymous communication awaiting him. He will fume and stamp and spurn it, but he will go, all the same. And then!”
She sealed the note, directed it in the same atrocious fist to the baronet, and then, rising, proceeded to undress.
But not to go to bed. A large bundle lay on a chair; she opened it, drew forth a full suit of man’s attire—an evening suit that the young baronet had worn but a few times, and the very counterpart of that which he wore to-night.
Miss Silver stood before the glass and arrayed herself in these. She was so tall that they fitted her very well, and when her long hair was scientifically twisted up, and a hat of Sir Everard’s crushed down upon it, she was as handsome a young fellow as you could see in a long day’s search.
That vague and shadowy resemblance to the baronet, which Mr. Parmalee had once noticed, was very palpable and really striking when she threw over all a long riding-cloak which Sir Everard often wore.
“You will do, I think,” she said, to her transformed image in the glass. “Even my lady might mistake you for her husband in the uncertain moonlight.”
She left the mirror, crossed the room, unlocked a trunk with a key she took out of her bosom, and drew forth a morocco scabbard case. The crest of the Kingslands and the monogram “E. K.,” decorated the leather.
Opening this, she drew forth a long, glittering Spanish stiletto, not much thicker than a coarse needle, but strong and glittering and deadly keen.
“Sir Everard has not missed his pretty toy yet,” she muttered. “If he had only dreamed, when he saw it first, not a fortnight ago, of the deed it would do this night!”
She closed the trunk, thrust the dagger into its scabbard, the scabbard into her bosom, blew out the lamp, and softly opened the door. All was still as the grave.