Miss Carlyle chose to be present in spite of the pipes and the smoke, and she was soon as deep in the discussion as the justices were. It was said in the town, that she was as good a lawyer as her father had been; she undoubtedly possessed sound judgment in legal matters, and quick penetration. At eight o’clock a servant entered the room and addressed his master.
“Mr. Dill is asking to see you, sir.”
Mr. Carlyle rose, and came back with an open note in his hand.
“I am sorry to find that I must leave you for half an hour; some important business has arisen, but I will be back as soon as I can.”
“Who has sent for you;” immediately demanded Miss Corny.
He gave her a quiet look which she interpreted into a warning not to question. “Mr. Dill is here, and will join you to talk the affair over,” he said to his guests. “He knows the law better than I do; but I will not be long.”
He quitted his house, and walked with a rapid step toward the Grove. The moon was bright as on the previous evening. After he had left the town behind him, and was passing the scattered villas already mentioned, he cast an involuntary glance at the wood, which rose behind them on his left hand. It was called Abbey Wood, from the circumstance that in old days an abbey had stood in its vicinity, all traces of which, save tradition, had passed away. There was one small house, or cottage, just within the wood, and in that cottage had occurred the murder for which Richard Hare’s life was in jeopardy. It was no longer occupied, for nobody would rent it or live in it.
Mr. Carlyle opened the gate of the Grove, and glanced at the trees on either side of him, but he neither saw nor heard any signs of Richard’s being concealed there. Barbara was at the window, looking out, and she came herself and opened the door to Mr. Carlyle.
“Mamma is in the most excited state,” she whispered to him as he entered. “I knew how it would be.”
“Has he come yet?”
“I have no doubt of it; but he has made no signal.”
Mrs. Hare, feverish and agitated, with a burning spot on her delicate cheeks, stood by the chair, not occupying it. Mr. Carlyle placed a pocket-book in her hands. “I have brought it chiefly in notes,” he said: “they will be easier for him to carry than gold.”
Mrs. Hare answered only by a look of gratitude, and clasped Mr. Carlyle’s hand in both hers. “Archibald, I must see my boy; how can it be managed? Must I go into the garden to him, or may he come in here?”
“I think he might come in; you know how bad the night air is for you. Are the servants astir this evening?”
“Things seem to have turned out quite kindly,” spoke up Barbara. “It happens to be Anne’s birthday, so mamma sent me just now into the kitchen with a cake and a bottle of wine, desiring them to drink her health. I shut the door and told them to make themselves comfortable; that if we wanted anything we would ring.”