“It’s a lie,” denied Garvington again. “I have not imitated your handwriting in the letter to Jarwin.”
“You unconsciously imitated the signature, and you have written the word motor the same in both letters,” said Agnes decisively. “I suddenly thought of your talent for writing like other people when Clara Greeby asked me to-day if I could guess who had forged the letter. I laid a trap for you and you have fallen into it. And you”—she took a step forward with fiery glance so that Garvington, retreating, nearly tumbled over a chair—“you laid a trap for Hubert into which he fell.”
“I never did—I never did!” babbled Garvington, gray with fear.
“Yes, you did. I swear to it. Now I understand why you threatened to shoot any possible burglar who should come to The Manor. You learned, in some way, I don’t know how, that Hubert was with the gypsies, and, knowing his jealous nature, you wrote this letter and let it fall into his hands, so that he might risk being shot as a robber and a thief.”
“I—I—I—didn’t shoot him,” panted the man brokenly.
“It was not for the want of trying. You broke his arm, and probably would have followed him out to inflict a mortal wound if your accomplice in the shrubbery had not been beforehand with you.”
“Agnes, I swear that I took Pine for a burglar, and I don’t know who shot him. Really, I don’t!”
“You liar!” said Agnes with intense scorn. “When you posted your accompl—”
She had no chance to finish the word, for Garvington broke in furiously and made a great effort to assert himself. “I had no accomplice. Who shot Pine I don’t know. I never wrote the letter; I never lured him to his death; he was more good to me alive than dead. He never—”
“He was not more good to you alive than dead,” interrupted Lady Agnes in her turn. “For Hubert despised you for the way in which you tried to trick him out of money. He thought you little better than a criminal, and only hushed up your wickedness for my sake. You would have got no more money out of him, and you know that much. By killing him you hoped that I would get the fortune and then you could plunder me at your leisure. Hubert was hard to manage, and you thought that I would be easy. Well, I have got the money and you have got rid of Hubert. But I shall punish you.”
“Punish me?” Garvington passed his tongue over his dry lips, and looked as though in his terror he would go down on his knees to plead.
“Oh, not by denouncing you to the police,” said his sister contemptuously. “For, bad as you are, I have to consider our family name. But you had Hubert shot so as to get the money through me, and now that I am in possession I shall surrender it to the person named in the sealed envelope.”
“No! No! No! No! Don’t—don’t—”
“Yes, I shall. I can do so by marrying Noel. I shall no longer consider the financial position of the family. I have sacrificed enough, and I shall sacrifice no more. Hubert was a good husband to me, and I was a good and loyal wife to him; but his will insults me, and you have made me your enemy by what you have done.”