They arrived in Liverpool. Mr. Parmalee and his companion posted full speed down to Devonshire. In the luminous dusk of the soft May evening they reached Worrel, Harriet’s thick veil hiding her from every eye.
“We’ll go to Mr. Bryson’s first,” said Parmalee, Bryson being Sir Everard’s lawyer. “We’re in the very nick of time; to-morrow morning at day-dawn is fixed for——”
“Oh, hush!” in a voice of agony; “not that fearful word!”
They reached the house of Mr. Bryson. He sat over his eight-o’clock cup of tea, with a very gloomy face. He had known Sir Everard all his life—he had known his beautiful bride, so passionately beloved. He had bidden the doomed baronet a last farewell that afternoon.
“He never did it,” said he to himself. “There is a horrible mystery somewhere. He never did it—I could stake my life on his innocence—and he is to die to-morrow, poor fellow! That missing man, Parmalee, did it, and that fierce young woman with the big black eyes and deceitful tongue was his aider and abettor. If I could only find that man!”
A servant entered with a card, “G. W. Parmalee.” The lawyer rose with a cry.
“Good Heaven above! It can’t be! It’s too good to be true! He never would rush into the lion’s den in this way. John Thomas, who gave you this?”
“Which the gentleman is in the droring-room, sir,” responded John Thomas, “as likewise the lady.”
Mr. Bryson rushed for the drawing-room, flung wide the door, and confronted Mr. Parmalee.
“Good-evening, squire,” said the American.
“You here!” gasped the Sawyer—“the man for whom we have been scouring the kingdom!”
“You’d oughter scoured the Atlantic,” replied the artist, with infinite calm. “I’ve been home to see my folks. I suppose you wanted me to throw a little light on that ’ere horrid murder?”
“I suspect you know more of that murder than any other man alive!” said the lawyer.
“Do tell! Well, now, I ain’t a-going to deny it—I do know all about it, squire.”
“Precisely! Yes, sir. I saw the deed done.”
“You did? Good heavens!”
“Don’t swear, squire. Yes, I saw the stab given, with that ’ere long knife; and it wasn’t the baronet did it, either, though you’re going to hang him for it to-morrow.”
“In Heaven’s name, man, who did the deed?”
“I knew it—I thought it—I said it! The she-devil! Poor, poor Lady Kingsland!”
“Ma’am,” said the American, turning to his veiled companion, “perhaps it will relieve Mr. Bryson’s gushing bosom to behold your face. Jest lift that ’ere veil.”
“All-merciful Heaven! the dead alive! Lady Kingsland!”
Sybilla Silver went straight from the prison cell of Sir Everard to the sick-room of his mother. It was almost eleven when she reached the Court, but they watched the night through in that house of mourning.