“Oh! ah! And—and Miss Greeby?”
“She is dying.”
Lambert clenched his hands and groaned, “Garvington and Mother Cockleshell?”
“She is dead and he is dead by now,” said Chaldea, looking with a callous smile at the burning cottage, “both are dead—Lord Garvington.”
“Lord Garvington?” Lambert groaned again. He had forgotten that he now possessed the title and what remained of the family estates.
“Avali!” cried Chaldea, clapping her hands and nodding toward the cottage with a meaning smile, “there’s the bonfire to celebrate the luck.”
A final surprise.
A week later and Lambert was seated in the library of The Manor, looking worn and anxious. His wan appearance was not due so much to what he had passed through, trying as late events had been, as to his dread of what Inspector Darby was about to say. That officer was beside him, getting ready for an immediate conversation by turning over various papers which he produced from a large and well-filled pocket-book. Darby looked complacent and important, as an examination into the late tragedy had added greatly to his reputation as a zealous officer. Things were now more ship-shape, as Miss Greeby had died after making confession of her crime and had been duly buried by her shocked relatives. The ashes of Lord Garvington and Mother Cockleshell, recovered from the debris of the cottage, had also been disposed of with religious ceremonies, and Silver’s broken body had been placed in an unwept grave. The frightful catastrophe which had resulted in the death of four people had been the talk of the United Kingdom for the entire seven days.
What Lambert was dreading to hear was the report of Miss Greeby’s confession, which Inspector Darby had come to talk about. He had tried to see her himself at the village inn, whither she had been transferred to die, but she had refused to let him come to her dying bed, and therefore he did not know in what state of mind she had passed away. Judging from the vindictive spirit which she had displayed, Lambert fancied that she had told Darby the whole wretched story of the forged letter and the murder. The last was bound to be confessed, but the young man had hoped against hope that Miss Greeby would be silent regarding Garvington’s share in the shameful plot. Wickedly as his cousin had behaved, Lambert did not wish his memory to be smirched and the family honor to be tarnished by a revelation of the little man’s true character. He heartily wished that the evil Garvington had done might be buried with him, and the whole sordid affair forgotten.
“First, my lord,” said Darby leisurely, when his papers were in order, “I have to congratulate your lordship on your accession to the title. Hitherto so busy have I been that there has been no time to do this.”
“Thank you, Mr. Inspector, but I regret that I should have succeeded through so tragic a death.”