“Have I stepped over my own grave?” thought he.
They reached the room, and entered. Hugh would have begged them to lock him in, had he not felt that his knowledge of the secret door, would, although he intended no use of it, render such a proposal dishonourable. They gave him the key of the door, to lock it on the inside, and bade him good night. They were just leaving him, when Hugh on whom a new light had broken at last, in the gradual restoration of his faculties, said to the Bohemian:
“One word with you, Herr von Funkelstein, if you please.”
Funkelstein followed him into the room; when Hugh half-closing the door, said:
“I trust to your sympathy, as gentleman, not to misunderstand me. I wagered a hundred guineas with you in the heat of after-dinner talk. I am not at present worth a hundred shillings.”
“Oh!” began Funkelstein, with a sneer, “if you wish to get off on that ground —”
“Herr von Funkelstein,” interrupted Hugh, in a very decided tone, “I pointed to your sympathy as a gentleman, as the ground on which I had hoped to meet you now. If you have difficulty in finding that ground, another may be found to-morrow without much seeking.”
Hugh paused for a moment after making this grand speech; but Funkelstein did not seem to understand him: he stood in a waiting attitude. Hugh therefore went on:
“Meantime, what I wanted to say is this: — I have just left a ring in my room, which, though in value considerably below the sum mentioned between us, may yet be a pledge of my good faith, in as far as it is of infinitely more value to me than can be reckoned in money. It was the property of one who by birth, and perhaps by social position as well, was Herr von Funkelstein’s equal. The ring is a diamond, and belonged to my father.”
Von Funkelstein merely replied:
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Sutherland, for misunderstanding you. The ring is quite an equivalent.” And making him a respectful bow, he turned and left him.
The lady Euphrasia.
The black jades of swart night trot foggy rings
’Bout heaven’s brow. ’Tis now stark dead night.
John Marston. — Second Part of Antonio and Mellida.
As soon as Hugh was alone, his first action was to lock the door by which he had entered; his next to take the key from the lock, and put it in his pocket. He then looked if there were any other fastenings, and finding an old tarnished brass bolt as well, succeeded in making it do its duty for the first time that century, which required some persuasion, as may be supposed. He then turned towards the other door. As he crossed the room, he found four candles, a decanter of port, and some biscuits, on a table — placed there, no doubt, by the kind hands of Euphra. He vowed to himself that he would not touch the wine.