“And what’s that?”
“The returning home of Luke Roy. There’s not much doubt that he knows all about it; I have my reasons for saying so, and I’d like to be quite sure before I tell out the tale. Old Roy says Luke may be expected home by any ship as comes; he don’t think he’ll stop there, now John Massingbird’s dead.”
“Then, Robin, listen to me,” returned Lionel. “I have no positive proof, any more than it appears your informant has; but I am perfectly convinced in my own mind that the guilty man was not John Massingbird, but another. Understand me,” he emphatically continued, “I have good and sufficient reason for saying this. Rely upon it, whoever it may have been, John Massingbird it was not.”
Robin lifted his eyes to the face of Lionel.
“You say you don’t know this, sir?”
“Not of actual proof. But so sure am I that it was not he, that I could stake all I possess upon it.”
“Then, sir, you’d lose it,” doggedly answered Robin. “When the time comes that I choose to speak out—”
“What are you doing there?” burst forth Lionel, in a severely haughty tone.
It caused Robin to start from his seat.
In a gap of the hedge behind them, Lionel had caught sight of a human face, its stealthy ears complacently taking in every word. It was that of Roy the bailiff.
THE PACKET IN THE SHIRT-DRAWER.
Mrs. Tynn, the housekeeper at Verner’s Pride, was holding one of those periodical visitations that she was pleased to call, when in familiar colloquy with her female assistants, a “rout out.” It appeared to consist of turning a room and its contents topsy-turvy, and then putting them straight again. The chamber this time subjected to the ordeal was that of her late master, Mr. Verner. His drawers, closets, and other places consecrated to clothes, had not been meddled with since his death. Mrs. Verner, in some moment unusually (for her) given to sentiment, had told Tynn she should like to “go over his dear clothes” herself. Therefore Tynn left them alone for that purpose. Mrs. Verner, however, who loved her personal ease better than any earthly thing, and was more given to dropping off to sleep in her chair than ever, not only after dinner but all day long, never yet had ventured upon the task. Tynn suggested that she had better do it herself, after all; and Mrs. Verner replied, perhaps she had. So Tynn set about it.
Look at Mrs. Tynn over that deep, open drawer full of shirts. She calls it “Master’s shirt-drawer.” Have the shirts scared away her senses? She has sat herself down on the floor—almost fallen back as it seems—in some shock of alarm, and her mottled face has turned as white as her master’s was, when she last saw him lying on that bed at her elbow.
“Go downstairs, Nancy, and stop there till I call you up again,” she suddenly cried out to her helpmate.