The morning sun streamed through the stained glass windows, casting their brilliant hues full on the face of the corpse, rendering the pale features more ghastly to look on than the convulsions had left them. Mrs. Fraudhurst was a woman of strong mind, but no feeling, and the presence of death had no terrors for her. She had entered, prepared in her own mind for the spectacle that now presented itself. Her plans had been already arranged, but she had hardly counted on their being so easily executed. With a firm hand she took up the will and unfinished codicil, folded them, and placed them carefully in the bosom of her dress. She now took up the bunch of keys, and replacing the centre drawer, locked it and dropped the bunch of keys into one of the pockets of Sir Jasper’s dressing gown, and finding that the open letter related to general business connected with the estate and some charitable institution, left them as she found them, and without one look of pity or regret on her now flushed face towards him to whose liberality she had for years been indebted for a home, with all the comforts and conveniences of life, left the apartment and regained her own chamber without meeting or being seen by any one. Her first act was to securely lock up the papers so feloniously obtained, then, applying cold water to her heated brow, to wait for the ringing of the second bell for breakfast. She could hear the voice of Edith, as her laugh rang out upon the lawn beneath her open window, at the gambols of the two greyhounds.
“Reynolds, ascertain whether Sir Jasper will have his breakfast sent up to him,” said Mrs. Fraudhurst, as she and, Edith took their seats at the table, some twenty minutes later.
Edith did not speak, but waited patiently to know if her uncle would come down. There had been a growing coolness between her and the lady who headed the table. She could not but think that there was some complicity between her and Ralph Coleman with respect to herself. She could not tell why this should be, but could not divest herself of the idea, nevertheless.
“My master is not in his own room, and has not slept in his bed,” hurriedly exclaimed Reynolds, re-entering the breakfast room. Edith started up, visibly agitated, but not so with the widow, she coolly said, “you had better look in at the library, he was writing there late last night and may probably have thrown himself on the lounge, and fallen asleep there.”