My Lady's Money
WHILE the strange proceedings of the steward were the subject of conversation
between Lady Lydiard and Mr. Troy, Moody was alone in his room, occupied in
writing to Isabel. Being unwilling that any eyes but his own should see the
address, he had himself posted his letter; the time that he had chosen for leaving
the house proving, unfortunately, to be also the time proposed by her Ladyship
for his interview with the lawyer. In ten minutes after the footman had reported
his absence, Moody returned. It was then too late to present himself in the
drawing-room. In the interval, Mr. Troy had taken his leave, and Moody's position
had dropped a degree lower in Lady Lydiard's estimation.
Isabel received her letter by the next morning's post. If any justification of Mr.
Troy's suspicions had been needed, the terms in which Moody wrote would have
amply supplied it.
"DEAR ISABEL (I hope I may call you 'Isabel' without offending you, in your
present trouble?)--I have a proposal to make, which, whether you accept it or not,
I beg you will keep a secret from every living creature but ourselves. You will
understand my request, when I add that these lines relate to the matter of tracing
the stolen bank-note.
"I have been privately in communication with a person in London, who is, as I
believe, the one person competent to help us in gaining our end. He has already
made many inquiries in private. With some of them I am acquainted; the rest he
has thus far kept to himself. The person to whom I allude, particularly wishes to
have half an hour's conversation with you in my presence. I am bound to warn
you that he is a very strange and very ugly old man; and I can only hope that you
will look over his personal appearance in consideration of what he is likely to do
for your future advantage.