“I did not do it. I swear I did not do it.”
“Yes, you did; and no denial on your part will make me believe otherwise. I shall give you a few days to think over the necessity of making a confession, and in any case I shall marry Noel.”
“And lose the money. You shan’t!”
“Shan’t!” Agnes stepped forward and looked fairly into his shifty eyes. “You are not in a position to say that, Freddy. I am mistress both of the situation and of Hubert’s millions. Go away,” she pushed him toward the door. “Take time to think over your position, and confess everything to me.”
Garvington got out of the room as swiftly as his shaky legs could carry him, and paused at the door to turn with a very evil face. “You daren’t split on me,” he screeched. “I defy you! I defy you! You daren’t split on me.”
Alas! Agnes knew that only too well, and when he disappeared she wept bitterly, feeling her impotence.
The last straw.
Lady Agnes was inaccurate when she informed Miss Greeby that her cousin had taken a house in Kensington, since, like many women, she was accustomed to speak in general terms, rather than in a precise way. The young man certainly did live in the suburb she mentioned, but he had simply rented a furnished flat in one of the cheaper streets. He was the poorest of all the Lamberts, and could scarcely pay his club subscriptions, much less live in the style his ancient name demanded. The St. James’s chambers had merely been lent to him by a friend, and when the owner returned, the temporary occupant had to shift. Therefore, on the score of economy, he hired the dingy flat and brought up Mrs. Tribb to look after it. The little woman, on her master’s account, was disgusted with the mean surroundings.
“When you ought to be living in a kind of Buckingham Palace, Master Noel, as I should declare with my dying breath,” she said indignantly. “And have the title, too, if things was as they ought to be.”
“I shouldn’t be much better off if I did have the title, Mrs. Tribb,” replied Lambert with a shrug. “It’s common knowledge that Garvington can scarcely keep his head above water. As an old family servant you should know.”
“Ah, Master Noel, there’s many things as I know, as I’m sorry I do know,” said Mrs. Tribb incoherently. “And them lords as is dead and buried did waste the money, there’s no denying. But some of your cousins, Master Noel, have gone into trade and made money, more shame to them.”
“I don’t see that, Mrs. Tribb. I’d go into trade myself if I had any head for figures. There’s no disgrace in trade.”
“Not for them as isn’t Lamberts, Master Noel, and far be it from me to say so, gentry not being so rich as they used to be when my mother was a gal. I don’t hold with it though for you, sir. But now Lady Agnes having millions and billions will make things easier for you.”