Mrs. Ferrari answered in a mysterious whisper. ’For the purpose of catching her in a trap! I shan’t send in my name—I shall announce myself as a person on business, and the first words I say to her will be these: “I come, my lady, to acknowledge the receipt of the money sent to Ferrari’s widow.” Ah! you may well start, Mr. Troy! It almost takes you off your guard, doesn’t it? Make your mind easy, sir; I shall find the proof that everybody asks me for in her guilty face. Let her only change colour by the shadow of a shade—let her eyes only drop for half an instant— I shall discover her! The one thing I want to know is, does the law permit it?’
‘The law permits it,’ Mr. Troy answered gravely; ’but whether her ladyship will permit it, is quite another question. Have you really courage enough, Mrs. Ferrari, to carry out this notable scheme of yours? You have been described to me, by Miss Lockwood, as rather a nervous, timid sort of person—and, if I may trust my own observation, I should say you justify the description.’
‘If you had lived in the country, sir, instead of living in London,’ Mrs. Ferrari replied, ’you would sometimes have seen even a sheep turn on a dog. I am far from saying that I am a bold woman— quite the reverse. But when I stand in that wretch’s presence, and think of my murdered husband, the one of us two who is likely to be frightened is not me. I am going there now, sir. You shall hear how it ends. I wish you good-morning.’
With those brave words the courier’s wife gathered her mantle about her, and walked out of the room.
Mr. Troy smiled—not satirically, but compassionately. ‘The little simpleton!’ he thought to himself. ’If half of what they say of Lady Montbarry is true, Mrs. Ferrari and her trap have but a poor prospect before them. I wonder how it will end?’
All Mr. Troy’s experience failed to forewarn him of how it did end.
In the mean time, Mrs. Ferrari held to her resolution.
She went straight from Mr. Troy’s office to Newbury’s Hotel.
Lady Montbarry was at home, and alone. But the authorities of the hotel hesitated to disturb her when they found that the visitor declined to mention her name. Her ladyship’s new maid happened to cross the hall while the matter was still in debate. She was a Frenchwoman, and, on being appealed to, she settled the question in the swift, easy, rational French way. ’Madame’s appearance was perfectly respectable. Madame might have reasons for not mentioning her name which Miladi might approve. In any case, there being no orders forbidding the introduction of a strange lady, the matter clearly rested between Madame and Miladi. Would Madame, therefore, be good enough to follow Miladi’s maid up the stairs?’