“They were not friendly,” admitted Wilfred, looking anxious. “There was a disagreement about my brother’s marriage. But, come now, my brother hasn’t anything to do with the affair?”
“Well,” said Woke, pinching his chubby chin, “it’s just this way, sir. I have been making inquiries, and I find that your brother and the deceased had a
violent quarrel yesterday afternoon in this house.”
“I know that, but a quarrel does not mean murder. Confound it, sir, I won’t listen to your insinuations.”
Mr. Woke went on coolly and deliberately. “I questioned Roberts, the butler,” he said, “and the man admitted that Captain Burton had used threatening language.”
“How did Roberts know?”
“He overheard Captain Burton at the open door of the library. He spoke loud enough for the whole house to hear, so Roberts says, but there 佛山桑拿那里好 happened to be nobody else about.”
“Go on,” cried Wilfred, flushed and impatient. “Let me hear what my brother said.”
“He called Mr. Malet a swindler, and said he would make it hot for him.”
Wilfred smiled derisively. “Really! And on such words, used in a moment of anger, you would accuse my brother of a brutal crime?”
“I don’t accuse him,
sir,” retorted Woke, hotly; “but I should like an explanation of his words.”
“I dare say he will furnish you with one.” Wilfred forgot his sprained ankle now, and sat up filled with indignation. “And let me tell you, Mr. Woke,” he went on, “the explanation will be such as to clear my brother wholly from all suspicion. He is the best fellow in the world, and I would as soon believe myself guilty of this thing as him. Suspect whom you please, but not my brother.”
But the phlegmatic officer 佛山桑拿按摩女服务 was quite unmoved by this outburst. “Natural enough,” he said. “Oh, I don’t dame you for standing up for the captain, sir; and I dare say, for that matter, he may be able to furnish an alibi, as he was at the Rectory waiting for her ladyship. All the same, I am bound to inquire further into this quarrel. I don’t accuse him, mind”–Mr. Woke shook his forefinger–“but I can’t help having my suspicions.” He paused, and asked suddenly, “Who is Miss Scarse, sir?
“The daughter of Mr. Scarse, M.P., and the lady to whom my brother is engaged to be married. Mr. Malet disapproved of the marriage. That was the reason he and Captain Burton quarrelled.”
“Scarse–Scarse,” repeated the inspector, rising. “I’ve heard of him. He’s the gentleman that’s always writing and talking tall about the Boers, isn’t he?”
“I believe he is what is called 佛山桑拿按摩888 a Little Englander.”
“An unpopular part at present, Mr. Burton. I am an Imperialist myself. H’m! so Miss Scarse is engaged to Captain Burton, is she? She called here at nine last night and asked for Lady Jenny, Roberts tells me.”
“Perhaps you’ll accuse her of the murder next!” said Wilfred, contemptuously.
“I accuse no one as yet, sir. But I must have my facts quite clear, and I go to get them. Good-day, sir,” and Mr. Woke departed to call in at “The Chequers,” with Captain Burton still the central figure in his mind.
But Harold was not at the inn. Late in the morning he had called at the cottage to see Brenda, and discuss with her the very stirring events of the previous might. She received him in the drawing-room, and, thankful to find that he was alive and well, embraced him more than ever affectionately. The poor girl 佛山桑拿哪里好 looked ill and pale, for all this trouble had shaken her nerves more than she cared to confess. And in truth Harold himself did not feel much better, although he showed it less markedly. Mr. Scarse being shut up as usual in his study, they had the room to themselves. Van Zwieten had gone out.
“I had no chance, dear, of speaking to you last night,” said Harold. “Tell me how you came to hear about this murder?”
“Harold, dear, I saw it committed!”
The man turned pale. “You saw it committed?” he repeated. “Why, Brenda, who did it?”
“I don’t know. I had gone to the Manor to see Lady Jenny. I thought she might be able to help you about this money and on my way home I was caught in the storm. In a vivid flash of lightning I saw Mr. Malet sheltering under a tree. I did not know then that it was Mr. Malet. After that I heard a cry, and 佛山桑拿会所酒店 then a shot. I ran forward, and stumbled over the body. Then I fainted, I think, but as soon as I was able I made my way home. It was only when I met you that I knew that Mr. Malet was the victim. Oh, Harold, dearest, I thought all the time it was you!”
“What on earth put such an idea as that into your head?” he asked in amazement.
“I don’t know. Van Zwieten had told me he hated you, and I am afraid of Van Zwieten. He told me he went to see you at the inn, and I thought you might have quarrelled, and—-” She threw out her hands. “Oh, dearest, it is only because you are so much to me, I suppose, that I thought it must be you. Oh, Harold, the thought nearly drove me mad.”
“But why did Van Zwieten want to see me?”
“To insist that you should give me up.”
“Give you up? Confound his Dutch impertinence!” said Harold, angrily.
“Dearest, 佛山桑拿技师网 I am afraid of that man,” said Brenda, clinging to him. “Yes, terribly afraid. He will not leave me alone. He speaks as though he were perfectly certain I should have to marry him.”
“In that case, the most effectual method of putting an end to his presumption will be for you to marry me, dear, and that at once. Remember the twenty thousand pounds comes to me now!”
“Harold!–the money is yours? But how?”
“Malet’s control of the fund died with him. Now that he is dead, nothing can prevent my getting it. We can be married straight away, dear.”
“We should have done that in any case, Harold. But now—- Oh, do let us go to London at once; for, until we are really married, I shall not be able to shake off my fear of this man. I know I sha’n’t.”
“Nonsense, Brenda! He can be nothing to you, Why, you told me you detested the man.”
“So I do. I loathe him. But he is so determined and wicked, and so unscrupulous, that somehow I fear him, I—-”
“Is he here now?”
“Yes; but I believe he goes this afternoon. He may meet us in London, Harold, and give us trouble there. Believe me, he is dangerous.”
“Give me the legal right to protect you, Brenda,” said Harold, “and you need not fear Van Zwieten. He is a brute. I don’t know how your father can tolerate him.”
“Simply because Mr. van Zwieten is going out to the Transvaal Government, and father has taken up the Boer cause.”
“If Kruger goes on as he is doing, there won’t be any Transvaal Government at all in a few months. Don’t you bother about Van Zwieten, dear. As soon as poor Malet is buried I shall go up to London and see 佛山桑拿qq about the money.”