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   Chapter 8 THE LABORS OF THE FOUR

The Grey Room By Eden Phillpotts Characters: 33247

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07


Despite the storm, Sir Walter slept through the night, and did not waken until his man drew the blinds upon a dawn sky so clear that it seemed washed of its blue. He had directed to be wakened at six o'clock.

"What of Mr. May?" he asked.

"Masters wants to know if we shall call him, Sir Walter."

"Not if he has returned to his room, but immediately if still in the Grey Room."

"He's not in his own room, sir."

"Then seek him at once."

The valet hesitated.

"Please, Sir Walter, there's none much cares to open the door."

He heard his daughter's voice outside at the same moment.

"Mr. May has not left the Grey Room, father."

"I'll be with you in a moment," he answered.

Then he rose, dressed partially, and joined her. She was full of active fear.

"All went well at two o'clock," she said, "for I crept out to listen. So did Masters. Mr. May's voice sounded clear and steady."

They found the butler at the door of the Grey Room. He was pale and mopping his forehead.

"I've called to him, but it's as silent as the grave in there," he said. "It's all up with the gentleman; I know it!"

"He may not be there; he may have gone out," answered Sir Walter.

Then he opened the door widely and entered. The electric light still shone and killed the pallid white stare of the morning. Upon a little table under it they observed Septimus May's Bible, open at an epistle of St. Paul, but the priest himself was on the floor some little distance away. He lay in a huddled heap of his vestments. He had fallen upon his right side apparently, and, though the surplice and cassock which he had worn were disarranged, he appeared peaceful enough, with his cheek on a foot stool, as though disposed deliberately upon the ground to sleep. His biretta was still upon his head; his eyes were open, and the fret and passion manifested by his face in life had entirely left it. He looked many years younger, and no emotion of any kind marked his placid countenance. But he was dead; his heart had ceased to beat and his extremities were already cold. The room appeared unchanged in every particular. As in the previous cases, death had come by stealth, yet robbed, as far as the living could judge, of all terror for its victim.

Masters called Caunter and Sir Walter's valet, who stood at the door. The latter declined to enter or touch the dead, but Caunter obeyed, and together the two men lifted Mr. May and carried him to his own room. In a moment it seemed that the house knew what had happened.

A scene of panic and hysteria followed below stairs, and, without Jane Bond's description of it, Mary knew the people were running out of the house as from a plague. She left her father with Masters, and strove to calm the frightened domestics. She spoke well, and explained that the event, horrible though it was, yet proved that no cause for their alarm any longer existed.

"If it had been a wicked spirit we do not understand, it would have had no power over Mr. May, who was a saint of God," she said. "Be at peace, restrain yourselves, and fear nothing now. There is no ghost here. Had it been a demon or any such thing, it must have been conscious, and therefore powerless against Mr. May. This proves that there is some fearful natural danger which we have not yet discovered hidden in the room, but no harm can happen to anybody if they do not go into the room. The police are coming from Scotland Yard in an hour or two, and you may feel as sure, as I do, and Sir Walter does, that they will find out the truth, whatever it is. You must none of you think of leaving before they come. If you do, they will only send for you again. Please prepare your breakfast and be reasonable. Sir Walter is terribly upset, and it would be a base thing if any of you were to desert him at a moment like this."

They grew steadier before her, and Mrs. Forbes, the housekeeper, who believed what Mary had said, added her voice.

Then Sir Walter's daughter returned to her father, who was with Masters in the study. A man had already started for a doctor, but with Mannering away there was none nearer than Neon Abbot.

Mary called on Masters to assert his authority, and reassure the household as she had done. She told him her argument, and he accepted it as a revelation.

"Thank God you could keep your senses and see that, ma'am! Tell the master the same, and make him drink a drop of spirits and get into his clothes. He's shook cruel!"

He had already brought the brandy, which was his panacea for all ills, and now left Mary and her father together. She found him collapsed, and forgot the cause for a few moments in her present concern for him. Indeed, she always thought, and often said afterwards, that but for the minor needs for action that intervened in this series of terrible moments she must herself have gone out of her mind. But something always happened, as in this case, to demand her full attention, and so arrest and deflect the strain almost at the moment of its impact.

She found that the ideas she had just employed to pacify the servants' hall were also in her father's thoughts. From them, however, he won no consolation, though he stood convinced. But the fact that Septimus May should have failed, and paid for his failure with his life, now assumed its true significance for Sir Walter. He was self-absorbed, prostrate, and desperate. In such a condition one is not master of oneself, and may say and do anything. The old man's armor was off, and in the course of his next few speeches, by a selfish forgetfulness that he would have been the first to condemn in another, he revealed a thing that was destined to cause the young widow bitter and needless pain. First, however, he pointed out what she already grasped and made clear to others.

"This upsets all May's theories and gives the lie to me as well. Why did I believe him! Why did I let him convince me against my better judgment?"

"Do not fret about that now."

"You might say, 'I told you so!' but you will not do that. Nevertheless, you were right to seek to stop this unfortunate man last night, and he was terribly mistaken. No being from another world had anything to do with his death. If we granted that, there is an end of religious faith."

"We can be sure of it, father. Evil spirits would have had no power over Mr. May, if there is a just God in heaven."

"Then it is something else. If not a spirit, then a living man-a human devil-and the police will discover him. In this house, one we have known and trusted; for all are known and trusted. They will blame me, with good reason, for sacrificing another life. The irony of fate that I, of all men, one so much alive to the meaning of mercy-that I, out of superstitious folly-But how will it look in the eyes of justice? Black-black! I am well prepared to suffer what I have deserved, Mary. Nothing that man can do to me equals the shame and dismay I feel when I consider what I have done to myself!"

"You must not talk so; it is unworthy of you. You know it, father, while you speak. Nobody has a right to question you or your opinions. Many would have been convinced by Mr. May last night. They may still think that he was right, and that, far from receiving evil treatment, he was blessed by being taken away into the next world without pain or shock. We must feel for him as we try to feel for dear Tom. And I do not mean that I am sorry for him; I am only sorry for us, because of the difficulty of explaining. Yet to tell the truth will not be difficult. They must do the best they can. It doesn't matter as much as you think. Indeed, how should they blame you at all until they themselves find out the truth?"

"They will-they must! They will discover the reason. They will hunt down the murderer, and they will inevitably attach utmost blame to me for listening to a man possessed. May was possessed, I tell you!"

"He was exceedingly convincing. When I listened to him he shook me, too."

"I should have supported you, instead of going over to him."

"He knows the truth now. He is with Tom now. We must remember that. We know they are happy, and that makes the opinion of living people matter very little."

Then, out of his weakness, he smote her, and thrust upon her some hours of agony, very horrible in their nature, which there was no good reason that Mary should have suffered.

"Who is alive and who is dead?" he asked. "We don't even know that. The police demanded to make their own inquiries, and Peter Hardcastle may at this moment be a living and breathing man, if they are right."

She stared at him and feared for his reason.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that they were not prepared to grant that he was dead. Henry and Mannering took him up on that assumption. He may have been restored to animation and his vital forces recovered. Why not? There was nothing visible to indicate dissolution. We have heard of trances, catalepsies, which simulate death so closely that even physicians are deceived. Have not men been buried alive? Tom's father at this moment might be restored to life, if we only knew how to act."

"Then-" she said, with horrified eyes, and stopped.

He saw what he had done.

"God forgive me! No, no, not that, Mary! It's all madness and moonshine! This is delirium; it will kill me! Don't think I believe them, any more than Mannering did, or Henry did. Henry has seen much death; he could not have been deceived. Tom was dead, and your heart told you he was dead. One cannot truly make any mistake in the presence of death; I know that."

Mary was marvellously restrained, despite the fact that she had received this appalling blow and vividly suffered all that it implied.

"I will try to put it out of my mind, father," she said quietly. "But if Mr. Hardcastle is alive, I shall go mad!"

"He is not. Mannering was positive."

"Nevertheless, he may be. And if he is, then Mr. May probably is."

"Grotesque, horrible, worse than death even! Keep your mind away from it, my darling, for the love of God!"

"Who knows what we can suffer till we are called to find out? No, I shall not go mad. But I must know to-day. I cannot eat or sleep until I know. I shall not live long if they don't tell me quickly."

Her father trembled and grew very white.

"This is the worst of all," he said. "These things will leave a burning brand. I am ruined by them, and my life thrown down. I, that thought I was strong, prove so weak that I can forget my own daughter, and out of cowardly misery speak of a thing she should never have known. You have your revenge, Mary, for I shall go a broken man from this hour. Nothing can ever be the same again. My self-respect is gone. I could have endured everything else-the things that I dreaded. All I could have suffered and survived; but to have forgotten and stabbed you-"

"Don't, don't-come-we have got each other, father-we have still got each other. The dead understand everything. Who else matters? Go to your room, and let your dear mind rest. I am not suffering. We cannot alter the past, and who would wish it, if they believe in eternal life? I would not call Tom back if I had the power to do so. Be sure of that."

She spoke comfortable words to him, and supported him to his room. She knew the police would soon arrive, and though they could not report concerning the life, or death, of Peter Hardcastle, she doubted not that definite information relating to him must come to Chadlands quickly. Upon that another life might hang. Yet, when the medical man arrived from Newton, he could only say that Septimus May was dead. He was a friend of Mannering, and knew the London opinion, that this form of apparent death might in reality conceal latent possibilities of resuscitation; but he spoke with absolute certainty. He was old, and had nearly fifty years of professional experience behind him.

"The man is dead, or I never saw death," he declared. "By a hundred independent evidences we can be positive. Post-mortem stains have already appeared, and were they ever known on a living body? Of the others who died in this room I know nothing personally; but here is death, and in twenty-four hours the fact will be plain to the perception of an idiot. What has happened is this: the London police have heard of a famous, recent German case mentioned in 'Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschraft'-an astonishing thing. A woman, who had taken morphine and barbital, was found apparently dead after a night's exposure in some lonely spot. There were no reflexes, no pulse, no respiration or heart-beat. Yet she was alive-existing without oxygen-an impossibility as we had always supposed. Seeing no actual evidence of death, the physicians injected camphor and caffein and took other restorative steps, with the result that in an hour the woman breathed again! Twenty-four hours later she was conscious and able to speak. It is assumed that the poison and the cold night air together had paralyzed her vasomotor nerves and reduced her body to a state akin to hibernation, wherein physical needs are at their minimum. That case has doubtless awakened these suspicions, and having regard to them, we will keep the poor gentleman in a warm room and proceed with the classical means for restoring respiration."

The doctor was thus engaged when four men reached Chadlands after their nightly journey. They were detective officers of wide reputation, and their chief-a grey-haired man with a round, amiable face and impersonal manner-listened to the events that had followed upon Peter Hardcastle's arrival and departure.

Sir Walter himself narrated the incidents, and perceiving his excitation, Inspector Frith assumed the gentlest and most forbearing attitude that he knew.

The police had come in a fighting humor. They arrived without any preconceived ideas or plan of action; but they were in bitter earnest, and knew that a great body of public opinion lay behind them. That Hardcastle, who had won such credit for his department and earned the applause of two continents, should have thus been lost, in a manner so mean and futile, exasperated not only his personal colleagues, but the larger public interested in his picturesque successes and achievements.

The new arrivals felt little doubt that their colleague was indeed dead, nor, when they heard of the last catastrophe, and presently stood by Septimus May, could they feel the most shadowy suspicion that life might be restored to him. Sir Walter found his nerve steadied on the arrival of these men. Indeed, by comparison with other trials, the ordeal before him now seemed of no complexity. He gave a clear account of events, admitted his great error, and answered all questions without any further confusion of mind.

"I am not concerned to justify my permission in the matter of Mr. May," he concluded. "I deeply deplore it, and bitterly lament the result; but my reasons for granting him leave to do what he desired I am prepared to justify when the time comes. Others also heard him speak, and though he did not convince my daughter, whose intellect is keener than my own, I honestly believed him with all my heart. It seemed to me that only so could any reasonable explanation be reached. Moreover, you have to consider his own triumphant conviction and power of argument. Rightly or wrongly, he made me feel that he was not mistaken-indeed, made me share his resolute convictions. These things I am prepared to explain if need be. But that will not matter to you. Personally I am now only too sure that both Septimus May and I were mistaken. I realize that there must exist some physical causes for these terrible things, that they are of human origin, and I hope devoutly that you will be permitted by Providence to discover them, and those responsible for them. But the peril is evidently still acute. The danger remains, and I need not ask you to recognize it."

Inspector Frith answered him, and proved more human than Sir Walter expected. He was an educated man of high standing in his business.

"We'll waste no time," he said. "Perhaps it is as well you are convinced, Sir Walter, that these things have happened inside natural laws, and don't depend on beings in some unknown fourth dimension. That is your affair, and I am very sure, as you say, that you can give good reasons for what you did at a future inquiry, though the results are so shocking. Poor Peter was taken back to London last night, you tell us, according to directions. If he's in the same case as this unfortunate gentleman, then th

ere's not much doubt about his being dead. We must begin at the beginning, though for us, naturally, Hardcastle's operations and their failure are the most interesting facts to be dealt with. You have told us everything that happened to him. But we have not heard who found him."

"My nephew, Henry Lennox."

"He found Captain May, too?"

"He did. He was the last to see him alive, and the first to see him afterwards."

"Is he here?"

"He will be here in the course of the day. He travelled to London last night with the body of Mr. Hardcastle."

"Why?"

"The doctor, Mr. Mannering, wished him to do so. He desired to have a companion."

"Have you anything further that you would care to tell us?"

"Only this, that I think Mr. Hardcastle, with whom I had a long conversation on his arrival, gave it as his opinion that it was not in the Grey Room we must look for an explanation. I believe he regarded his visit to the room itself as a comparatively unimportant part of the case. He was really more interested in the life of my son-in-law and his relations with other people. I think he regarded May's death as a matter which had been determined outside the Grey Room. But, if I may presume to advise you, this view of his is surely proved mistaken in the light of his own destruction and what has happened since. It is certain now that the cause of danger lies actually in the room itself, and equally certain that what killed my son-in-law also killed Mr. Hardcastle and, last night, killed the Reverend Septimus May."

"On the fact of it, yes," admitted Frith. "I think, after we have considered the situation now developed and visited the Grey Room, we shall agree that there, at any rate, we may begin the work that has brought us. You understand we rule out the possibility of any supernatural event, as Hardcastle, of course, did. While he very properly centred on the history of Captain May, and, from his point of view, did not expect to find the accident of the captain's death in this particular place would prove important, we shall now assume otherwise, and give the room, or somebody with access to it, the credit for this destruction of human life. We shall fasten on the room therefore. Our inquiry is fairly simple at the outset, simpler than poor Hardcastle's. It will lie along one of two channels, and it depends entirely upon which channel we have to proceed whether the matter is going to take much time, and possibly fail of explanation at the end, or but a short time, and be swiftly cleared up. I hope the latter."

"I shall be glad if you can explain that remark," answered Sir Walter; but Mr. Frith was not prepared immediately to do so.

"Fully when the time comes, Sir Walter; but for the moment, no-not even to you. You will understand that our work must be entirely secret, and the lines on which we proceed known only to ourselves."

"That is reasonable, for you cannot tell yet whether I, who speak to you, may not be responsible for everything. At least, command me. I only hope to Heaven you are not going to discover a great crime."

"I share your hope. That is why I speak of two channels for inquiry," answered the detective. "Needless to say, we four men shall discuss the new light thrown upon the situation very fully. At present the majority of us are inclined to believe there is no crime, and the death of Mr. May does not, to my mind, increase the likelihood of such a thing. Indeed, it supports me, I should judge, in my present opinion. What that is will appear without much delay. We'll get to our quarters now, and ask to see the Grey Room later on."

"May I inquire concerning Mr. Hardcastle? I hope he had no wife or family to mourn him."

"He was a bachelor, and lived with his mother, who keeps a shop. The intention is to examine his body this morning, and submit it to certain conclusive tests. Nobody expects much from them, but they're not going to lose half a chance. He was a great man."

"You will hear at once from London if anything transpires to help you?"

"We shall hear by noon at latest."

Sir Walter left them then, and Masters took the four to their accommodation. Their rooms were situated together in the corridor, as near the east end of it as possible. But the four were not yet of one mind, and when they met presently, and walked together in the garden for an hour, it appeared that while two of them agreed with Inspector Frith, under whom all acted, the fourth held to a contrary view, and desired to take the second of the two channels his chief had mentioned.

Thus three men believed some extraordinary concatenation of circumstances, probably mechanical in operation, was responsible for all that had happened in the Grey Room; but the fourth, a man older than Frith, and in some sort his rival for many years, held to it that the reason of these things must be sought in an active and conscious agency. He trusted in a living cause, but felt confident that it was not a sane one. He had known a case when a madman, unsuspected of madness, had operated with extraordinary skill to destroy innocent persons and escape detection, and already he was disposed to believe that among the household of Chadlands might hide such an insane criminal.

On a similar plane, it was in his personal experience that weak-minded persons, possessed with a desire to do something out of the common, had often planned and perpetrated apparent physical phenomena, and created an appearance of supernatural visitations, only exposed after great difficulty by professional research. Along such lines, therefore, this man was prepared to operate, and he believed it might be possible that a maniac, in possession of some physical secret, would be found among the inhabitants of the manor house. He did not, however, elaborate this opinion, but kept it to himself. Indeed, the human element of jealousy, so often responsible for the frustration of the worthiest human ambitions, was not absent from the minds of the four now concerned with this problem.

Each desired to solve it, and while no rivalry existed among them, save in the case of the two older men, it was certain that the eldest of the four would not lose his hold on his own theory, or be at very vital pains to stultify it. All, however, were fully conscious of the danger before them, and Frith, from the first, directed that none was to work alone, either in the Grey Room or elsewhere.

At noon a telegram arrived for Mr. Frith from Scotland Yard. It recorded the fact that Peter Hardcastle was dead, and that examination had revealed no cause for his end. The news reached Sir Walter at once, and if ever he rejoiced in the death of a fellow-creature, it was upon this occasion. It meant unspeakable relief both for him and his daughter.

The detectives began their operations after a midday meal, and having first carefully studied the Grey Room in every visible particular, they emptied it of its contents, and placed the pictures, furniture, and statuette outside in the corridor. They asked for no assistance, and desired that none should visit the scene of their labors. The apartment, empty to the walls, they examined minutely; with the help of ladders, they investigated the outer walls on the east and south side; and they probed the chimney from above and below. They searched the adjoining room-Mary's old nursery-to satisfy themselves that no communication existed, and they drove an iron rod through the walls in various directions, only to prove they were of solid stone, eighteen inches thick within and two feet thick without. There was no apartment on the other side of the chamber. It completed the eastern angle of the house front, and behind it, inside, the corridor terminated at an eastern window parallel with the Grey Room oriel, but flat and undecorated-a modern window inserted by Sir Walter's grandfather to lighten a dark corner. Not a foot of the walls they left untested, and they examined and removed a portion of the paper upon them also. Then, taking up the carpet, they broke into the flooring and skirting boards, but discovered no indication that the grime and dust of centuries had ever been disturbed. The desiccated mummy of a rat alone rewarded their scrutiny. It lay between great timbers under the planking-beams that supported the elaborate stucco roof of a dwelling-room below.

To the ceiling of the Grey Room they next turned their attention, fastened an electric wire to the nearest point, and, through a trap-door in the roof of the passage, investigated the empty space between the ceiling and the roof. Not an inch of the massive oaken struts above did they fail to scrutinize, and they made experiments with smoke and water, to learn if, at any point, so much as a pin-hole existed in the face of the stucco. But it was solid, and spread evenly to a considerable depth. They studied it, then, from inside the room, to discover nothing but the beautifully modeled surface, encrusted with successive layers of whitewash. The workmanship belonged to a time when men knew not to scamp their labors and art and craft went hand in hand. Such enthusiasms perished with the improvement of education. They died with the Guilds, and the Unions are not concerned to revive them.

The detectives had finished this examination when, at an hour in the late afternoon, Henry Lennox and Dr. Mannering returned. The authorities had been informed of the death of Septimus May, and desired that no more than the ordinary formalities should be taken, unless their representatives at Chadlands thought otherwise. But they did not. They were now convinced that no communication existed between the Grey Room and the outer world, and they declared their determination to watch in it during the coming night. As a preliminary to this course, however, they examined each piece of furniture and every picture and other object that they had removed from the room. These told them nothing, and presently they restored the chamber in every particular, re-laid and nailed the carpet, and placed each article as it had stood when they arrived. They continued to decline assistance, and made it clear that nobody was to approach the end of the corridor in which they worked. Alive to the danger, but believing that, whatever its quality, four men could hardly be simultaneously destroyed, they prepared for their vigil. Nor did they manifest any fear of what awaited them. Facts, indeed, may be stubborn things, but even facts will not upset the convictions of a lifetime. Not one of the four for an instant imagined that a supernatural explanation of the mystery existed. Their minds were open, and their wits, long trained in problems obscure and difficult, assured them that the problem was capable of solution and within the power of their wits to solve. They apprehended no discovery from the watch to be undertaken; but, at Frith's orders, they set stolidly about it, as a preliminary to the proceedings of the following day. Once proved that the murderous force was powerless against men prepared and armed against it, and the practical inquiry as to these strange deaths would be entered upon.

They came with full powers, and designed to search the house without warning on the following morning, and examine all who dwelt in it.

Sir Walter invited them to dine with him, and they did so. There were present the master of Chadlands, Dr. Mannering-who asked to spend the night there-and Henry Lennox; while Masters and Fred Caunter waited upon them. The detectives heard with interest the result of the post-mortem conducted during the morning, and related incidents in the life of Peter Hardcastle. They were all unfeignedly amazed that a man with such a record-one who had carried his life in his hand on many occasions-should have lost it thus, at noonday and without a sound of warning to his fellow-creatures. Dr. Mannering told how he had watched the medical examination, but not assisted at it. All attempts to galvanize back life failed, as the experts engaged immediately perceived they must upon viewing the corpse; and during the subsequent autopsy, when the dead man's body had been examined by chemist and microscopist, the result was barren of any pathological detail. No indication to explain his death rewarded the search. Not a clue or suspicion existed. He was healthy in every particular, and his destruction remained, so far, inexplicable to science. Hardcastle had died in a syncope, as the other victims; that was all the most learned could declare.

Impressed by these facts, the four made ready, and Lennox observed that they neither drank during their meal nor smoked after it.

At nine o'clock they began their work of the night, but invited nobody to assist them, and begged that they might not be approached until daylight on the following morning.

Dr. Mannering took it upon himself earnestly to beg they would abandon the vigil. Indeed, he argued strongly against it.

"Consider, gentlemen," he said, "you are now possibly convinced in your own minds that the source of these horrible things is to be found outside the Grey Room, and not in it. I agree with you, so far. We have reached a pitch where, in my judgment, we are justified in believing that some motiveless malignity is at work. But by going into that room, are you not giving somebody another opportunity to do what has already been done? Evil performed without motive, as you know better than I can tell you, must be the work of a maniac, and there may exist in this house, unsuspected and unguessed, a servant afflicted in this awful way. One has heard of such things."

The eldest of his listeners felt unspeakable interest in these remarks, since his own opinion inclined in the same direction. He was, however, none the less chagrined that another should thus voice his secret theory. He did not answer, but his chief replied.

"It is proved," said Frith, "that no violence overtakes those subjected to this ordeal. And I have decided that we shall not be in danger, for this reason. We shall be armed as none of the dead were. Our precautions will preclude any possibility of foul play from a material assault. And, needless to say, we contemplate no other. We are free agents, and I should not quarrel with any among us who shirked; but duty is duty, and we have all faced dangers as great as this-probably far greater. What you say is most interesting, doctor, and I agree with you, that outside the room we must look for the explanation of these murders-if murders they are. Upon that business we shall start to-morrow. Forgive me for not going into details, because we have our personal methods. They embrace the element of surprise, and, of course, prevent any conversation concerning what we are going to do until we have done it."

"Supposing you are all found dead to-morrow?" asked Dr. Mannering bluntly.

"Then we are all found dead to-morrow; and others will have the satisfaction of finding out why."

"You suspect somebody, yet can absolve nobody?"

"Exactly, Sir Walter. I said pretty much that to the pressmen, who forced themselves in this afternoon. The accursed daily Press of this country has saved the skin of more blackguards than I like to count. Keep them and the photographers away. It ought to be criminal-their interference."

"I ordered that none was to be admitted for a moment."

"It is always very hard to keep them out. They are cunning devils, and take a perverse pleasure in adding to our difficulties. Little they care how they defeat justice if they can only get 'copy' for their infernal newspapers."

Inspector Frith spoke with some warmth; he had little for which to thank the popular Press.

Within an hour the four departed, and it was understood that they should not be disturbed until they themselves cared to reappear.

Mannering remained with Sir Walter and Lennox. He was dejected and exceedingly anxious. But the others did not share his fears. The younger, indeed, felt hopeful that definite results might presently be recorded, and he went to his bed very thankful to get there. But Sir Walter, now calm and refreshed by some hours of sleep during the afternoon, designed to keep his own vigil.

"Poor May lies in my library to-night," he said, "and I shall watch beside him. Mary also wishes to do so. It seems a proper respect to pay the dead. The inquest takes place to-morrow, and he will be buried in his parish. We must attend the funeral, Mary and I."

"If ever a man took his own life, that man did!" declared the doctor.

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