Jeanne did as she was bid, and gave a little stifled cry.
“Why, we are close to the Red Hall!” she said. Kate nodded.
“A little way farther up there is a gate,” she said. “We are going in there.”
“You are not going to the house?” Jeanne asked, in terror.
“No,” Kate answered, “I am not going there! Follow me, and don’t talk more than you can help. The wind is going down.”
“But it is the middle of the night,” Jeanne said. “No one will be astir.”
“One cannot tell,” Kate answered slowly. “It is in my mind that there have been strange doings here, and I know well that there is a man who watches this place by day and by night. He has discovered nothing, but it is because he has not known where to look.”
“What do you mean?” Jeanne asked hoarsely.
“Wait!” her companion said.
They passed through the wooden gate. They were now in a little weedy plantation of undersized trees. The ground was full of rabbit holes, and Jeanne stumbled more than once.
“How much farther?” she asked. “We are getting toward the house.”
“Not yet,” Kate answered. “There are the gardens first, but we are not going there. Wait a moment.”
She felt for one of the trees, and passed her hand carefully round its trunk. Then she took a few steps forward and stopped short.
“Wait!” she said.
She lay flat down upon the grass and was silent for several minutes. Then she whispered to Jeanne.
“Don’t turn on your torch,” she said. “Lie down here by my side, put your ear to the ground, and tell me whether you can hear anything.”
Jeanne obeyed her breathlessly. At first she could hear nothing. Her own heart was beating fast, and the boughs of the trees above them were creaking and groaning in the wind. Presently, however, she gave a little cry. From somewhere underground it seemed to her that she could hear a faint hammering.
“What is it?” she asked.
Kate sat up.
“There is no animal,” she said, “which makes a noise like that. It is somewhere there underground. It seems to me that it is some one who is trying to get out.”
“Some one underground?” Jeanne repeated.
Kate leaned over and whispered in her ear.
“There is a passage underneath here,” she said, “which goes from the Hall to the cliffs, and a room, or rather a vault.”
“I know,” Jeanne declared suddenly. “Mr. De la Borne showed it to us. It was the way the smugglers used to bring their goods up to the cellars of the Red Hall.”
“We are just above the room here,” Kate said slowly, “and I fancy that there is some one there.”
A sudden light broke in upon Jeanne.
“You think that it is Lord Engleton!” she declared.
“Why not?” Kate answered. “Listen again, with your ear close to the ground. Last night I was almost sure that I heard him call for help.”