And the final statement which Silver made to Lambert intimated that Garvington was ignorant of the truth. Until the bullet was produced in the library to fit the revolver it had never struck Garvington that the other weapon had been used to kill Pine. And he had honestly believed that Silver—as was actually the case—had remained in his bedroom all the time, until he came downstairs to play his part. As to Miss Greeby being concerned in the matter, such an idea had never entered Garvington's head. The little man's hesitation in producing the revolver, when he got an inkling of the truth, was due to his dread that if Silver was accused of the murder—and at the time it seemed as though the secretary was guilty—he might turn king's evidence to save his neck, and explain the very shady plot in which Garvington had been engaged. But Lambert had forced his cousin's hand, and Silver had been brought to book, with the result that the young man now sat in his room at the inn, quite convinced that Miss Greeby was guilty, yet wondering what motive had led her to act in such a murderous way.

Also, Lambert wondered what was best to be done, in order to save the family name. If he went to the police and had Miss Greeby arrested, the truth of Garvington's shady dealings would certainly come to light, especially as Silver was an accessory after the fact. On the other hand, if he left things as they were, there was always a chance that hints might be thrown out by Chaldea—who had everything to gain and nothing to lose—that he and Agnes were responsible for the death of Pine. Of course, Lambert, not knowing that Chaldea had been listening to the conversation in the cottage, believed that the girl was ignorant of the true state of affairs, and he wondered how he could inform her that the actual criminal was known without risking her malignity. He wanted to clear his character and that of his wife; likewise he wished to save the family name. But it seemed to him that the issue of these things lay in the hands of Chaldea, and she was bent upon injuring him if she could. It was all very perplexing.

It was at this point of his meditation that Mother Cockleshell arrived at the inn. He heard her jovial voice outside and judged from its tone that the old dame was in excellent spirits. Her visit seemed to be a hint from heaven as to what he should do. Gentilla hated Chaldea and loved Agnes, so Lambert felt that she would be able to help him. As soon as possible he had her brought into the sitting room, and, having made her sit down, closed both the door and the window, preparatory to telling her all that he had learned. The conversation was, indeed, an important one, and he was anxious that it should take place without witnesses.

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"You are kind, sir," said Mother Cockleshell, who had been supplied with a glass of gin and water. "But it ain't for the likes of me to be sitting down with the likes of you."

"Nonsense! We must have a long talk, and I can't expect you to stand all the time—at your age."

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"Some Gentiles ain't so anxious to save the legs of old ones," remarked Gentilla Stanley cheerfully. "But I always did say as you were a golden one for kindness of heart. Well, them as does what's unexpected gets what they don't hope for."

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"I have got my heart's desire, Mother," said Lambert, sitting down and lighting his pipe. "I am happy now."

"Not as happy as you'd like to be, sir," said the old woman, speaking quite in the Gentile manner, and looking like a decent charwoman. "You've a dear wife, as I don't deny, Mr. Lambert, but money is what you want."

"I have enough for my needs."

"Not for her needs, sir. She should be wrapped in cloth of gold and have a path of flowers to tread upon."

"It's a path of thorns just now," muttered Lambert moodily.

"Not for long, sir; not for long. I come to put the crooked straight and to raise a lamp to banish the dark. Very good this white satin is," said Mother Cockleshell irrelevantly, and alluding to the gin. "And terbaccer goes well with it, as there's no denying. You wouldn't mind my taking a whiff, sir, would you?" and she produced a blackened clay pipe which had seen much service. "Smoking is good for the nerves, Mr. Lambert."

The young man handed her his pouch. "Fill up," he said, smiling at the idea of his smoking in company with an old gypsy hag.

"Bless you, my precious!" said Mother Cockleshell, accepting the offer with avidity, and talking more in the Romany manner. "I allers did say as you were what I said before you were, and that's golden, my Gorgious one. Ahime!" she blew a wreath of blue smoke from her withered lips, "that's food to me, my dearie, and heat to my old bones."

Lambert nodded. "You hinted, in Devonshire, that you had something to say, and a few moments ago you talked about putting the crooked straight."

"And don't the crooked need that same?" chuckled Gentilla, nodding. "There's trouble at hand, my gentleman. The child's brewing witch's broth, for sure."

"Chaldea!" Lambert sat up anxiously. He mistrusted the younger gypsy greatly, and was eager to know what she was now doing.

"Aye! Aye! Aye!" Mother Cockleshell nodded three times like a veritable Macbeth witch. "She came tearing, rampagious-like, to the camp an hour or so back and put on her fine clothes—may they cleave with pain to her skin—to go to the big city. It is true, rye. Kara ran by the side of the donkey she rode upon—may she have an accident—to Wanbury."

"To Wanbury?" Lambert looked startled as it crossed his mind, and not unnaturally, that Chaldea might have gone to inform Inspector Darby about the conversation with Garvington in the library.