Mrs. Verner had gone to her room. Mr. Verner was mixing with his guests. Some of the gentlemen were on the terrace smoking, and Tynn made his way on to it, hoping he might get a minute’s interview with his master. The impression upon Tynn’s mind was that Frederick Massingbird was coming there and then, to invade Verner’s Pride: it appeared to Tynn to be his duty to impart what he had heard and seen at once to Mr. Verner.
Circumstances favoured him. Lionel had been talking with Mr. Gordon at the far end of the terrace, but the latter was called to from the drawing-room windows and departed in answer to it. Tynn seized the opportunity; his master was alone.
Quite alone. He was leaning over the outer balustrade of the terrace, apparently looking forth in the night obscurity on his own lands, stretched out before him. “Master!” whispered Tynn, forgetting ceremony in the moment’s absorbing agitation, in the terrible calamity that was about to fall, “I have had an awful secret made known to me to-night. I must tell it you, sir.”
“I know it already, Tynn,” was the quiet response of Lionel.
Then Tynn told—told all he had heard, and how he had heard it; told how he had just seen Frederick Massingbird. Lionel started from the balustrade.
“Tynn! You saw him! Now?”
“Not five minutes ago, sir. He came right on to these grounds through the gap in the hedge. Oh, master! what will be done?” and the man’s voice rose to a wail in its anguish. “He may be coming on now to put in his claim to Verner’s Pride; to—to—to—all that’s in it!”
But that Lionel was nerved to self-control, he might have answered with another wail of anguish. His mind filled up the gap of words, that the delicacy of Tynn would not speak. “He may be coming to claim Sibylla.”
LOOKING OUT FOR THE WORST.
The night passed quietly at Verner’s Pride. Not, for all its inmates, pleasantly. Faithful Tynn bolted and barred the doors and windows with his own hand, as he might have done on the anticipated invasion of a burglar. He then took up his station to watch the approaches to the house, and never stirred until morning light. There may have run in Tynn’s mind some vague fear of violence, should his master and Frederick Massingbird come in contact.
How did Lionel pass it? Wakeful and watchful as Tynn. He went to bed; but sleep, for him, there was none. His wife, by his side, slept all through the night. Better, of course, for her that it should be so; but, that her frame of mind could be sufficiently easy to admit of sleep, was a perfect marvel to Lionel. Had he needed proof to convince him how shallow was her mind, how incapable she was of depth of feeling, of thought, this would have supplied it. She slept throughout the night. Lionel never closed his eyes; his brain was at work,