“Because the bullet fits the barrel of a revolver I gave to my cousin some twelve months ago?” he inquired, smiling.
Chaldea’s face fell. “Twelve months ago!” she echoed, greatly disappointed.
“Yes, as Lord Garvington can swear to. So I could not have used the weapon on that night, you see.”
“I used it,” admitted Garvington readily enough. “And winged Pine.”
“Exactly. But I gave you a brace of revolvers of the same make. The bullet which would fit one—as it does—would fit the other. I see there is only one in the case. Where is the other?”
Garvington’s color changed and he shuffled with his feet. “I lent it to Silver,” he said in a low voice, and reluctantly.
“Was it in Silver’s possession on the night Pine was shot?”
“Must have been. He borrowed it a week before because he feared burglars.”
“Then,” said Lambert coolly, and drawing a breath of relief, for the tension had been great, “the inference is obvious. Silver shot Hubert Pine.”
An amazing accusation.
“Beng in tutes bukko!” swore Chaldea in good Romany, meaning that she wished the devil was in some one’s body. And she heartily meant what she said, and cared little which of the two men’s interior was occupied by the enemy of mankind, since she hated both. The girl was disappointed to think that Lambert should escape from her snare, and enraged that Garvington’s production of one revolver and his confession that Silver had the other tended to this end. “May the pair of you burn in hell,” she cried, taking to English, so that they could understand the insult. “Ashes may you be in the Crooked One’s furnace.”
Lambert shrugged his shoulders, as he quite understood her feelings, and did not intend to lower himself by correcting her. He addressed himself to his cousin and turned his back on the gypsy. “Silver shot Hubert Pine,” he repeated, with his eyes on Garvington’s craven face.
“It’s impossible—impossible!” returned the other hurriedly. “Silver was shut up in the house with the rest. I saw to the windows and doors myself, along with the butler and footmen. At the inquest—”
“Never mind about the inquest. I know what you said there, and I am now beginning to see why you said it.”
“What the devil do you mean?”
“I mean,” stated the other, staring hard at him, “that you knew Silver was guilty when the inquest took place, and screened him for some reason.”
“I didn’t know; I swear I didn’t know!” stuttered Garvington, wiping his heated face, and with his lower lip trembling.
“You must have done so,” replied Lambert relentlessly. “This bullet will fit both the revolvers I gave you, and as you passed on one to Silver—”
“Rubbish! Bosh! Nonsense!” babbled the little man incoherently. “Until you brought the bullet I never knew that it would fit the revolver.”