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Ellen Wood (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about Verner's Pride.

And the girl left the room, grumbling to herself; for Nancy at Verner’s Pride did not improve in temper.

Between two of the shirts, in the very middle of the stack, Mrs. Tynn had come upon a parcel, or letter.  Not a small letter—­if it was a letter—­but one of very large size, thick, looking not unlike a government despatch.  It was sealed with Mr. Verner’s own seal, and addressed in his own handwriting—­“For my nephew, Lionel Verner.  To be opened after my death.”

Mrs. Tynn entertained not the slightest doubt that she had come upon the lost codicil.  That the parcel must have been lying quietly in the drawer since her master’s death, was certain.  The key of the drawer had remained in her own possession.  When the search after the codicil took place, this drawer was opened—­as a matter of form more than anything else—­and Mrs. Tynn herself had lifted out the stack of shirts.  She had assured those who were searching that there was no need to do so, for the drawer had been locked up at the time the codicil was made, and the deed could not have been put into it.  They accepted her assurance, and did not look between the shirts.  It puzzled Mrs. Tynn, now, to think how it could have got in.

“I’ll not tell Tynn,” she soliloquised—­she and Tynn being somewhat inclined to take opposite sides of a question, in social intercourse—­“and I’ll not say a word to my mistress.  I’ll go straight off now and give it into the hands of Mr. Lionel.  What a blessed thing!—­If he should be come into his own!”

The inclosed paved court before Lady Verner’s residence had a broad flower-bed round it.  It was private from the outer world, save for the iron gates, and here Decima and Lucy Tempest were fond of lingering on a fine day.  On this afternoon of Mary Tynn’s discovery, they were there with Lionel.  Decima went indoors for some string to tie up a fuchsia plant, just as Tynn appeared at the iron gates.  She stopped on seeing Lionel.

“I was going round to the other entrance, sir, to ask to speak to you,” she said.  “Something very strange has happened.”

“Come in,” answered Lionel.  “Will you speak here, or go indoors?  What is it?”

Too excitedly eager to wait to go indoors, or to care for the presence of Lucy Tempest, Mrs. Tynn told her tale, and handed the paper to Lionel.  “It’s the missing codicil, as sure as that we are here, sir.”

He saw the official-looking nature of the document, its great seal, and the superscription in his uncle’s handwriting.  Lionel did not doubt that it was the codicil, and a streak of scarlet emotion arose to his pale cheek.

“You don’t open it, sir!” said the woman, as feverishly impatient as if the good fortune were her own.

No.  Lionel did not open it.  In his high honour, he deemed that, before opening, it should be laid before Mrs. Verner.  It had been found in her house; it concerned her son.  “I think it will be better that Mrs. Verner should open this, Tynn,” he quietly said.

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