“I took it myself, from the table here.”

“Was it sealed?”

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“Was anybody present when you took the letter from the table?”

“Miss Isabel was present.”

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“Did you find her alone in the room?”

“Yes, sir.”

Lady Lydiard opened her lips to speak, and checked herself. Mr. Troy, having cleared the ground before him, put the fatal question.

“Mr. Moody,” he said, “when Miss Isabel was instructed to seal the letter, did she know that a bank-note was inclosed in it?”

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Instead of replying, Robert drew back from the lawyer with a look of horror. Lady Lydiard started to her feet — and checked herself again, on the point of speaking.

“Answer him, Moody,” she said, putting a strong constraint on herself.

Robert answered very unwillingly. “I took the liberty of reminding her ladyship that she had left her letter unsealed,” he said. “And I mentioned as my excuse for speaking,”— he stopped, and corrected himself —“I believe I mentioned that a valuable inclosure was in the letter.”

“You believe?” Mr. Troy repeated. “Can’t you speak more positively than that?”