90t49

90t49

"No! No! No! It was to her interest also that Pine should live, since she knew that I could not marry you while he was alive."

Agnes nodded, understanding him so well that she did not need to ask for a detailed explanation. "It could not have been any of those staying at The Manor," she said doubtfully, "since every one was indoors and in bed. Garvington, of course, only broke poor Hubert's arm under a misapprehension. Who could have been the person in the shrubbery?"

"Silver hints that I am the individual," said Lambert grimly.

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"Yes, he does," assented Lady Agnes quickly. "I declared that you were in London, but he said that you returned on that night to this place."

"I did, worse luck. I went to town, thinking it best to be away while Pine was in the neighborhood, and—"

"You knew that Hubert was a gypsy and at the camp?" interrupted Agnes in a nervous manner, for the information startled her.

"Yes! Chaldea told me so, when she was trying to make me fall in love with her. I did not tell you, as I thought that you might be vexed, although I dare say I should have done so later. However, I went to town in order to prevent trouble, and only returned for that single night. I went back to town next morning very early, and did not hear about the murder until I saw a paragraph in the evening papers. Afterwards I came down to the funeral because Garvington asked me to, and I thought that you would like it."

"Why did you come back on that particular night?"

"My dear Agnes, I had no idea that Hubert would be murdered on that especial night, so did not choose it particularly. I returned because I had left behind a parcel of your letters to me when we were engaged. I fancied that Chaldea might put Hubert up to searching the cottage while I was away, and if he had found those letters he would have been more jealous than ever, as you can easily understand."

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"No, I can't understand," flashed out Agnes sharply. "Hubert knew that we loved one another, and that I broke the engagement to save the family. I told him that I could not give him the affection he desired, and he was content to marry me on those terms. The discovery of letters written before I became his wife would not have caused trouble, since I was always loyal to him. There was no need for you to return, and your presence here on that night lends color to Mr. Silver's accusation."

"But you don't believe—"

"Certainly I don't. All the same it is awkward for both of us."

"I think it was made purposely awkward, Agnes. Whosoever murdered Hubert must have known of my return, and laid the trap on that night, so that I might be implicated."

"But who set the trap?"

"The person who wrote that letter."

"And who wrote the letter?"

"That is what we have to find out from Chaldea!"