Miss Greeby was masculine and fearless, but there was something so weird about this mystic sentence, which hinted at capital punishment, that she shrank back nervously. Mother Cockleshell, delighted to see that she had made an impression, climbed on to the gray donkey and made a progress through the camp. Passing by Chaldea's caravan she spat on it and muttered a word or so, which did not indicate that she wished a blessing to rest on it. Chaldea did not show herself, so the deposed queen was accompanied to the outskirts of the wood by the elder gypsies, mourning loudly. But when they finally halted to see the last of Mother Cockleshell, she raised her hand and spoke authoritatively.

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"I go and I come, my children. Forget not, ye Romans, that I say so much. When the seed needs rain it falls. Sarishan, brothers and sisters all." And with this strange speech, mystical to the last, she rode away into the setting sun, on the gray donkey, looking more like an almshouse widow than ever.

As for Miss Greeby, she strode out of the camp and out of the Abbot's Wood, and made for the Garvington Arms, where she had left her baggage. What Mother Cockleshell knew, she did not guess; what Mother Cockleshell intended to do, she could not think; but she was satisfied that Chaldea would in some way pay for her triumph. And the downfall of the girl was evidently connected with the unravelling of the murder mystery. In a witchly way, as the old woman would have said herself, she intended to adjust matters.

"I'll leave things so far in her hands," thought Miss Greeby. "Now for Silver."

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Whether Miss Greeby found a difficulty, as was probable, in getting Silver to hand over the forged letter, or whether she had decided to leave the solution of this mystery to Mother Cockleshell, it is impossible to say. But she certainly did not put in an appearance at Lady Agnes Pine's town house to report progress until after the new year. Nor in the meantime did she visit Lambert, although she wrote to say that she induced the secretary to delay his threatened exposure. The position of things was therefore highly unsatisfactory, since the consequent suspense was painful both to Agnes and her lover. And of course the widow had been duly informed of the interview at the cottage, and naturally expected events to move more rapidly.

However, taking the wise advice of Isaiah to "Make no haste in time of trouble," Agnes possessed her soul in patience, and did not seek out Miss Greeby in any way, either by visiting or by letter. She attended at her lawyers' offices to supervise her late husband's affairs, and had frequent consultations with Garvington's solicitors in connection with the freeing of the Lambert estates. Everything was going on very satisfactorily, even to the improvement of Lambert's health, so Agnes was not at all so ill at ease in her mind as might have been expected. Certainly the sword of Damocles still dangled over her head, and over the head of Lambert, but a consciousness that they were both innocent, assured her inwardly that it would not fall. Nevertheless the beginning of the new year found her in anything but a placid frame of mind. She was greatly relieved when Miss Greeby at last condescended to pay her a visit.

Luckily Agnes was alone when the lady arrived, as Garvington and his wife were both out enjoying themselves in their several ways. The pair had been staying with the wealthy widow for Christmas, and had not yet taken their departure, since Garvington always tried to live at somebody's expense if possible. He had naturally shut up The Manor during the festive season, as the villagers expected coals and blankets and port wine and plum-puddings, which he had neither the money nor the inclination to supply. In fact, the greedy little man considered that they should ask for nothing and pay larger rents than they did. By deserting them when peace on earth and goodwill to men prevailed, or ought to have prevailed, he disappointed them greatly and chuckled over their lamentations. Garvington was very human in some ways.

However, both the corpulent little lord and his untidy wife were out of the way when Miss Greeby was announced, and Agnes was thankful that such was the case, since the interview was bound to be an important one. Miss Greeby, as usual, looked large and aggressively healthy, bouncing into the room like an india-rubber ball. Her town dress differed very little from the garb she wore in the country, save that she had a feather-trimmed hat instead of a man's cap, and carried an umbrella in place of a bludgeon. A smile, which showed all her strong white teeth in a somewhat carnivorous way, overspread her face as she shook hands vigorously with her hostess. And Miss Greeby's grip was so friendly as to be positively painful.

"Here you are, Agnes, and here am I. Beastly day, ain't it? Rain and rain and rain again. Seems as though we'd gone back to Father Noah's times, don't it?"

"I expected you before, Clara," remarked Lady Agnes rather hurriedly, and too full of anxiety to discuss the weather.

"Well, I intended to come before," confessed Miss Greeby candidly. "Only, one thing and another prevented me!" Agnes noticed that she did not specify the hindrances. "It was the deuce's own job to get that letter. Oh, by the way, I suppose Lambert told you about the letter?"

"Mr. Silver told me about it, and I told Noel," responded Agnes gravely. "I also heard about your interview with—"

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"Oh, that's ages ago, long before Christmas. I should have gone and seen him, to tell about my experiences at the gypsy camp, but I thought that I would learn more before making my report as a detective. By the way, how is Lambert, do you know?"

"He is all right now, and is in town."

"At his old rooms, I suppose. For how long? I want to see him."