The Evil Genius
9. Somebody Attends to the Door
With slow steps Linley crossed the lawn; his mind gloomily absorbed in thoughts which
had never before troubled his easy nature--thoughts heavily laden with a burden of self-
Arrived at the limits of the lawn, two paths opened before him. One led into a quaintly
pretty inclosure, cultivated on the plan of the old gardens at Versailles, and called the
French Garden. The other path led to a grassy walk, winding its way capriciously through
a thick shrubbery. Careless in what direction he turned his steps, Linley entered the
shrubbery, because it happened to be nearest to him.
Except at certain points, where the moonlight found its way through open spaces in the
verdure, the grassy path which he was now following wound onward in shadow. How far
he had advanced he had not noticed, when he heard a momentary rustling of leaves at
some little distance in advance of him. The faint breeze had died away; the movement
among the leaves had been no doubt produced by the creeping or the flying of some
creature of the night. Looking up, at the moment when he was disturbed by this trifling
incident, he noticed a bright patch of moonlight ahead as he advanced to a new turn in the
The instant afterward he was startled by the appearance of a figure, emerging into the
moonlight from the further end of the shrubbery, and rapidly approaching him. He was
near enough to see that it was the figure of a woman. Was it one of the female servants,
hurrying back to the house after an interview with a sweetheart? In his black evening
dress, he was, in all probability, completely hidden by the deep shadow in which he
stood. Would he be less likely to frighten the woman if he called to her than if he allowed
her to come close up to him in the dark? He decided on calling to her.
"Who is out so late?" he asked.
A cry of alarm answered him. The figure stood still for a moment, and then turned back
as if to escape him by flight.
"Don't be frightened," he said. "Surely you know my voice?"
The figure stood still again. He showed himself in the moonlight, and discovered--
"You!" he exclaimed.
She trembled; the words in which she answered him were words in fragments.
"The garden was so quiet and pretty--I thought there would be no harm--please let me go
back--I'm afraid I shall be shut out--"