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Ellen Wood (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about Verner's Pride.
recover from them; if Alice Hook was startled into something worse, she was not dead.  It was all sport to free-and-easy John; and, but for circumstances, there’s no knowing how long he might have carried this game on.  These circumstances touched upon a point that influences us all, more or less—­pecuniary consideration.  John was minus funds, and it was necessary that something should be done; he could not continue to live upon Roy.

It was Roy himself who at length hit upon the plan that brought forth the certainty about the codicil.  Roy found rumours were gaining ground abroad that it was not Frederick Massingbird’s ghost, but Frederick himself; and he knew that the explanation must soon come.  He determined to waylay Tynn and make an apparent confidant of him; by these means he should, in all probability, arrive at the desired information.  Roy did so; and found that there was no codicil.  He carried his news to John Massingbird, advising that gentleman to go at once and put in his claim to Verner’s Pride.  John, elated with the news, protested he’d have one more night’s fun first.

Such were the facts.  John Massingbird told them to Jan, suppressing any little bit that he chose, here and there.  The doubt about the codicil, for instance, and its moving motive in the affair, he did not mention.

“It has been the best fun I ever had in my life,” he remarked.  “I never shall forget the parson’s amazed stare, the first time I passed him.  Or old Tynn’s, either, last night.  Jan, you should have heard Dan Duff howl!”

“I have,” said Jan.  “I have had the pleasure of attending him.  My only wonder is that he did not put himself into the pool, in his fright:  as Rachel Frost did, time back.”

John Massingbird caught the words up hastily, “How, do you know that Rachel put herself in?  She may have been put in.”

“For all I know, she may.  Taking circumstances into consideration, however, I should say it was the other way.”

“I say, Jan,” interrupted John Massingbird, with another explosion, “didn’t your Achates, Cheese, arrive at home in a mortal fright one night?”

Jan nodded.

“I shall never forget him, never.  He was marching up, all bravely, till he saw my face.  Didn’t he turn tail!  There has been one person above all others, Jan, that I have wanted to meet, and have not—­your brother Lionel.”

“He’d have pinned you,” said Jan.

“Not he.  You would not have done it to-night, but that I let you do it.  No chance of anybody catching me, unless I chose. I was on the look-out for all I met, for all to whom I chose to show myself:  they met me unawares.  Unprepared for the encounter, while they were recovering their astonishment, I was beyond reach.  Last night I had been watching over the gate ever so long, when I darted out in front of Tynn, to astonish him.  Jan”—­lowering his voice—­“has it put Sibylla in a fright?”

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