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"Then Lord Garvington wrote the letter, and when seeing Pine, I gave it to him saying that while keeping watch on his wife—as he asked me to," said Silver with an emphasis which made Lambert wince, "I had intercepted the letter. Pine was furious, as I knew he would be, and said that he would come to the blue door at the appointed time to prevent the supposed elopement. I told Lord Garvington, who was ready, and—"

"And I went down, pretending that Pine was a burglar," said Lord Garvington, continuing the story in a most shameless manner. "I opened the door quite expecting to find him there. He rushed me, believing in his blind haste that I was Agnes coming to elope with you. I shot him in the arm, and he staggered away, while I shut the door again. Whether, on finding his mistake, and knowing that he had met me instead of Agnes, he intended to go away, I can't say, as I was on the wrong side of the door. But Agnes, attracted to the window by the shot, declared—and you heard her declare it at the inquest, Noel—that Pine walked rapidly away and was shot just as he came abreast of the shrubbery. That's all."

"And quite enough, too," said Lambert savagely. "You tricky pair of beasts; I suppose you hoped to implicate me in the crime?"

"It wasn't a crime," protested Silver; "but only a way to get money. By going up to London you certainly delayed what we intended to do, since we could not carry out our plan until you returned. You did for one night, as Chaldea, who was on the watch for you, told us, and then we acted."

"Did Chaldea know of the trap?"

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"No! She knew nothing save that I"—it was Silver who spoke—"wanted to know about your return. She found the letter in Pine's tent, and really believed that Lady Agnes had written it, and that you had shot Pine. It was to force you by threats to marry her that she gave the letter to me."

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"And she instructed you to show it to the police," said Lambert between his teeth, "whereas you tried to blackmail Lady Agnes."

"I had to make my money somehow," said Silver insolently. "Pine was dead and Lady Agnes had the coin."

"You were to share in the twenty-five thousand pounds, I suppose?" Lambert asked his cousin indignantly.

"No; Silver blackmailed on his own. I hoped to get money from Agnes in another way—as her hard-up brother that is. And if—"

"Oh, shut up! You make me sick," interrupted Lambert, suppressing a strong desire to choke his cousin. "You are as bad as Silver."

"And Silver is as innocent as Lord Garvington," struck in that gentleman, whose face was recovering its natural color.

Lambert turned on him sharply. "I don't agree with that. You shot Pine!"

Silver sprang up with a hysterical cry. He had judged like Agag that the bitterness of death was past, but found that he was not yet safe. "I did not shoot Pine," he declared, wringing his hands. "Oh, why can't you believe me."

"Because Garvington gave you the second revolver and with that—on the evidence of the bullet—Pine was murdered."

"That might be so, but—but—" Silver hesitated, and shivered and looked round with a hunted expression in his eyes.

"But what? You may as well explain to me."

"I shan't—I refuse to. I am innocent! You can't hurt me!"