“That’s her, the planter’s lady. Large as life and twice as natural. The thing is as clear as mud in a wine glass. All plain and smooth as a three mile course. The mystery is solved. She recognized you at the ball, saw that you were mystified, but would, doubtless, remember her if you met again. You call the next morning. She refuses to see you on the plea of indisposition. Takes the alarm, bolts off the course, and makes for the open country, where she, doubtless, intends to remain until she hears that you are safe on your road to Secunderabad; and now, old fellow, what are you going to do? There is money to be made out of this matter if you are not too squeamish,” and here Racer tipped a knowing wink to his friend of the Lancers.
But Captain Snaffle was a gentleman, and had no idea of trading upon the necessities of others, be they who they might. He merely replied by saying:
“Racer, you will not mention a word of this to any one at present. I will go down to Pallamcotta and find out to what extent Lady Chutny has compromised herself. After that we can decide what is to be done about letting fashionable world into the secret.” The two friends left the Fusiliers’ mess room, Harry Racer trotting off to inspect some new horses that he had got scent of, and Snaffle to his own quarters.
The following morning saw him on his way to Sir Lexicon’s plantation. On the road he overtook the baronet, and they rode the remainder of the distance together. Imagine their consternation on finding that lady Chutny was both dead and buried.
The planter, with his usual indolence and procrastination, was for allowing things to remain as they were. “There is no use,” he said, “now, that the matter is all over, of disturbing the body. I will have a handsome monument erected over her remains, and the place shall be nicely laid out with shrubs and flowers, and kept in good order while I live;” But Captain Snaffle thought otherwise. He felt certain that the woman had not been accessory to her own death, but that foul play had been used by some one and he was determined to ferret it out. Immediately on his return to Madras he communicated his suspicions to the police authorities, and enquiries were instituted, a reward offered, and the whole affair came to light.
But it was not until several months after this event transpired that our friends at Vellenaux became aware of the ultimate fate of the ex-governess. Captain Snaffle, in a letter to Arthur, gave an account of the whole transaction, from which it transpired, that, on enquiries being set on foot respecting Lady Chutny’s sudden death, Gopall, the butler, turned Queen’s evidence, and confessed the whole of the diabolical plot. Datura, a powerful narcotic poison, had been mixed with the sherbet, this produced delirium, and a quantity of pulverized glass had been introduced into the food given to the unsuspecting victim, which produced inflammation of the bowels, and the combined effects of these caused death. However, the perpetrators of the foul deed unfortunately managed to escape, by what means the writer did not state.