We opened the cabinets first. They held papers that had been precious in their day—old deeds, old charters and grants, with the king’s seals and the signatures of the Lords Proprietors upon them; correspondence, a casual glance at which showed Revolutionary activities—a hanging matter once, but harmless enough now; a box of foreign coins, all gold; a charge, in medieval Latin, on fine parchment, which exquisitely illuminated initial letters; a plain silver chalice and a patten; some threadbare robes and regalia, and a gavel; a most carefully done chart of the Hynds family, ending, however, with Colonel James Hampden Hynds himself; two letters, and a miniature of Charles the First; letters signed, “Yours, B. Franklin,” “Yours, John Hancock”; several from “Geo. Washington.”
The chest held two uniforms, one British, the other buff and blue; a pair of pistols, spurs, and a sword. The buff-and-blue uniform was worn and stained, with a burnt and ragged hole in the breast. It had belonged, said the slip pinned to it, to “Captain Lewis De Lacy Hynds, my youngest Brother, the youngest of our House, who Fell Gloriously at the Battle of Cowpens.”
And that was all. Although we examined every inch of that floor, every board of the walls, and made the most scrupulously careful search of the cabinets and the chest. I even dared pass my hands over Jessamine herself.
Shooba the witch doctor had done the unexpected. Wherever he might have hidden them between a night and a morning, he had not hidden the Hynds jewels in the secret room of Hynds House. And she who alone could have solved the mystery and told us the truth, lay there with a lipless mouth.
ON THE KNEES OF THE GODS
We gave over the futile search at last. Mr. Jelnik sat down and took his head in his hands, for the moment a prey to overwhelming disappointment. I could have wept for him. Presently:
“Is it so hard to lose that which you never possessed?” I ventured to ask.
“It is always bitter to fail.”
“But you haven’t really failed. You have succeeded in proving that both Richard and Freeman were the victims of an insane jealousy and a terrible revenge.”
“Jessamine’s confession might well be set aside: insane people often accuse themselves of crimes committed only in their own disordered brains. The one indisputable proof would be the jewels in my hands.” He added, with a faint smile: “I should have liked to see those accursed things made clean by your wearing them, Sophy.”
“I don’t want them!” I said, and my head went up. “I don’t care that for all the Hynds jewels ever lost! I wouldn’t have come here to-night for their sake or mine, not if they were worth an empire’s ransom! I wanted them for Richard’s sake, and—and yours.”
“I know, I know. At first I wanted them for him and me, too. Afterward I wanted them for him and for you, Sophy.”