"Intentions! Intentions!" muttered the corpulent little lord, taking a hasty departure out of diplomacy. "Surely, Agnes won't be such a fool as to let the family estates go."
Tips, opportunities to make money：ads earning money websiteIt never struck him that Pine might have so worded the will that the inheritance he counted upon might not come to the widow, unless she chose to fulfil a certain condition. But then he never guessed the jealousy with which the hot-blooded gypsy had regarded the early engagement of Agnes and Lambert. If he had done so, he assuredly would not have invited the young man down to the funeral. But he did so, and talked about doing so, with a frequent mention that the body was to rest in the sacred vault of the Lamberts so that every one should applaud his generous humility.
"Poor Pine was only a gypsy," said Garvington, on all and every occasion. "But I esteemed him as a good and honest man. He shall have every honor shown to his memory. Noel and I, as representatives of his wife, my dear sister, shall follow him to the Lambert vault, and there, with my ancestors, the body of this honorable, though humble, man shall rest until the Day of Judgment."
Tips, opportunities to make money：get money onlineA cynic in London laughed when the speech was reported to him. "If Garvington is buried in the same vault," he said contemptuously, "he will ask Pine for money, as soon as they rise to attend the Great Assizes!" which bitter remark showed that the little man could not induce people to believe him so disinterested as he should have liked them to consider him.
However, in pursuance of this artful policy, he certainly gave the dead man, what the landlady of the village inn called, "a dressy funeral." All that could be done in the way of pomp and ceremony was done, and the procession which followed Ishmael Hearne to the grave was an extraordinarily long one. The villagers came because, like all the lower orders, they loved the excitement of an interment; the gypsies from the camp followed, since the deceased was of their blood; and many people in financial and social circles came down from London for the obvious reason that Pine was a well-known figure in the City and the West End, and also a member of Parliament. As for Lambert, he put in an appearance, in response to his cousin's invitation, unwillingly enough, but in order to convince Agnes that he had every desire to obey her commands. People could scarcely think that Pine had been jealous of the early engagement to Agnes, when her former lover attended the funeral of a successful rival.
Of course, the house party at The Manor had broken up immediately after the inquest. It would have disintegrated before only that Inspector Darby insisted that every one should remain for examination in connection with the late tragical occurrence. But in spite of questioning and cross-questioning, nothing had been learned likely to show who had murdered the millionaire. There was a great deal of talk after the body had been placed in the Lambert vault, and there was more talk in the newspapers when an account was given of the funeral. But neither by word of mouth, nor in print, was any suggestion made likely to afford the slightest clue to the name or the whereabouts of the assassin. Having regard to Pine's romantic career, it was thought by some that the act was one of revenge by a gypsy jealous that the man should attain to such affluence, while others hinted that the motive for the crime was to be found in connection with the millionaire's career as a Gentile. Gradually, as all conjecture proved futile, the gossip died away, and other events usurped the interest of the public. Pine, who was really Hearne, had been murdered and buried; his assassin would never be discovered, since the trail was too well hidden; and Lady Agnes inherited at least two millions on which she would probably marry her cousin and so restore the tarnished splendors of the Lambert family. In this way the situation was summed up by the gossips, and then they began to talk of something else. The tragedy was only a nine minutes' wonder after all.
The gossips both in town and country were certainly right in assuming that the widow inherited the vast property of her deceased husband. But what they did not know was that a condition attached to such inheritance irritated Agnes and caused Garvington unfeigned alarm. Pine's solicitor—he was called Jarwin and came from a stuffy little office in Chancery Lane—called Garvington aside, when the mourners returned from the funeral, and asked that the reading of the will might be confined to a few people whom he named.
"There is a condition laid down by the testator which need not be made public," said Mr. Jarwin blandly. "A proposition which, if possible, must be kept out of print."
Garvington, with a sudden recollection of his iniquity in connection with the falsified check, did not dare to ask questions, but hastily summoned the people named by the lawyer. As these were the widow, Lady Garvington, himself, and his cousin Noel, the little man had no fear of what might be forthcoming, since with relatives there could be no risk of betrayal. All the same, he waited for the reading of the will with some perturbation, for the suggested secrecy hinted at some posthumous revenge on the part of the dead man. And, hardened as he was, Garvington did not wish his wife and Lambert to become acquainted with his delinquency. He was, of course, unaware that the latter knew about it through Agnes, and knew also how it had been used to coerce her—for the pressure amounted to coercion—into a loveless marriage.
The quintette assembled in a small room near the library, and when the door and window were closed there was no chance that any one would overhear the conference. Lambert was rather puzzled to know why he had been requested to be present, as he had no idea that Pine would mention him in the will. However, he had not long to wait before he learned the reason, for the document produced by Mr. Jarwin was singularly short and concise. Pine had never been a great speaker, and carried his reticence into his testamentary disposition. Five minutes was sufficient for the reading of the will, and those present learned that all real and personal property had been left unreservedly to Agnes Pine, the widow of the testator, on condition that she did not marry Noel Tamsworth Leighton Lambert. If she did so, the money was to pass to a certain person, whose name was mentioned in a sealed envelope held by Mr. Jarwin. This was only to be opened when Agnes Pine formally relinquished her claim to the estate by marrying Noel Lambert. Seeing that the will disposed of two millions sterling, it was a remarkably abrupt document, and the reading of it took the hearers' breath away.
Garvington, relieved from the fears of his guilty conscience, was the first to recover his power of speech. He looked at the lean, dry lawyer, and demanded fiercely if no legacy had been left to him. "Surely Pine did not forget me?" he lamented, with more temper than sorrow.
"You have heard the will," said Mr. Jarwin, folding up the single sheet of legal paper on which the testament was inscribed.
"There are no legacies."