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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 259 pages of information about Red Money.

CHAPTER XIV.

Miss Greeby, detective.

As Miss Greeby had informed Lambert, she intended to remain at the Garvington Arms until the mystery of Pine’s death was solved.  But her interview with him necessitated a rearrangement of plans, since the incriminating letter appeared to be such an important piece of evidence.  To obtain it, Miss Greeby had decided to return to London forthwith, in order to compel its surrender.  Silver would undoubtedly show fight, but his mistress was grimly satisfied that she would be able to manage him, and quite counted upon gaining her end by bullying him into compliance.  When in possession of the letter she decided to submit it to Agnes and hear what that lady had to say about it as a dexterous piece of forgery.  Then, on what was said would depend her next move in the complicated game.  Meanwhile, since she was on the spot and desired to gather all possible evidence connected with Chaldea’s apparent knowledge of the crime, Miss Greeby went straight from Lambert’s cottage to the gypsy camp.

Here she found the community of vagrants in the throes of an election, or rather their excitement was connected with the deposition of Gentilla Stanley from the Bohemian throne, and the elevation of Chaldea.  Miss Greeby mixed with the throng, dispensed a few judicious shillings and speedily became aware of what was going on.  It appeared that Chaldea, being pretty and unscrupulous, and having gained, by cunning, a wonderful influence amongst the younger members of the tribe, was insisting that she should be elected its head.  The older men and women, believing wisely that it was better to have an experienced ruler than a pretty figurehead, stood by Mother Cockleshell, therefore the camp was divided into two parties.  Tongues were used freely, and occasionally fists came into play, while the gypsies gathered round the tent of the old woman and listened to the duet between her and the younger aspirant to this throne of Brentford.  Miss Greeby, with crossed legs and leaning on her bludgeon, listened to the voluble speech of Mother Cockleshell, which was occasionally interrupted by Chaldea.  The oration was delivered in Romany, and Miss Greeby only understood such scraps of it as was hastily translated to her by a wild-eyed girl to whom she had given a shilling.  Gentilla, less like a sober pew-opener, and more resembling the Hecate of some witch-gathering, screamed objurgations at the pitch of her crocked voice, and waved her skinny arms to emphasize her words, in a most dramatic fashion.

“Oh, ye Romans,” she screeched vehemently, “are ye not fools to be gulled by a babe with her mother’s milk—­and curses that it fed her—­scarcely dry on her living lips?  Who am I who speak, asses of the common?  Gentilla Stanley, whose father was Pharaoh before her, and who can call up the ghosts of dead Egyptian kings, with a tent for a palace, and a cudgel for a sceptre, and the wisdom of our people at the service of all.”

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