Blanche, watching her opportunity, caught her uncle alone.
“Now for your promise,” she said. “You have made some important discoveries at Craig Fernie. What are they?”
Sir Patrick’s eye turned toward Geoffrey, dozing in an arm-chair in a corner of the room. He showed a certain disposition to trifle with the curiosity of his niece.
“After the discovery we have already made,” he said, “can’t you wait, my dear, till we get the telegram from Edinburgh?”
“That is just what it’s impossible for me to do! The telegram won’t come for hours yet. I want something to go on with in the mean time.”
She seated herself on a sofa in the corner opposite Geoffrey, and pointed to the vacant place by her side.
Sir Patrick had promised—Sir Patrick had no choice but to keep his word. After another look at Geoffrey, he took the vacant place by his niece.
“WELL?” whispered Blanche, taking her uncle confidentially by the arm.
“Well,” said Sir Patrick, with a spark of his satirical humor flashing out at his niece, “I am going to do a very rash thing. I am going to place a serious trust in the hands of a girl of eighteen.”
“The girl’s hands will keep it, uncle—though she is only eighteen.”
“I must run the risk, my dear; your intimate knowledge of Miss Silvester may be of the greatest assistance to me in the next step I take. You shall know all that I can tell you, but I must warn you first. I can only admit you into my confidence by startling you with a great surprise. Do you follow me, so far?”
“If you fail to control yourself, you place an obstacle in the way of my being of some future use to Miss Silvester. Remember that, and now prepare for the surprise. What did I tell you before dinner?”
“You said you had made discoveries at Craig Fernie. What have you found out?”
“I have found out that there is a certain person who is in full possession of the information which Miss Silvester has concealed from you and from me. The person is within our reach. The person is in this neighborhood. The person is in this room!”
He caught up Blanche’s hand, resting on his arm, and pressed it significantly. She looked at him with the cry of surprise suspended on her lips—waited a little with her eyes fixed on Fir Patrick’s face—struggled resolutely, and composed herself.
“Point the person out.” She said the words with a self-possession which won her uncle’s hearty approval. Blanche had done wonders for a girl in her teens.
“Look!” said Sir Patrick; “and tell me what you see.”
“I see Lady Lundie, at the other end of the room, with the map of Perthshire and the Baronial Antiquities of Scotland on the table. And I see every body but you and me obliged to listen to her.”