The Evil Shepherd
Francis and Margaret sat in the rose garden on the following morning. Their conversation
was a little disjointed, as the conversation of lovers in a secluded and beautiful spot
should be, but they came back often to the subject of Sir Timothy.
"If I have misunderstood your father," Francis, declared, "and I admit that I have, it has
been to some extent his own fault. To me he was always the deliberate scoffer against
any code of morals, a rebel against the law even if not a criminal in actual deeds. I
honestly believed that The Walled House was the scene of disreputable orgies, that your
father was behind Fairfax in that cold-blooded murder, and that he was responsible in
some sinister way for the disappearance of Reggie Wilmore. Most of these things seem to
have been shams, like the fight last night."
She moved uneasily in her place.
"I am glad I did not see that," she said, with a shiver.
"I think," he went on, "that the reason why your father insisted upon Lady Cynthia's and
my presence there was that he meant it as a sort of allegory. Half the vices in life he
claims are unreal."
Margaret passed her arm through his and leaned a little towards him.
"If you knew just one thing I have never told you," she confided, "I think that you would
feel sorry for him. I do, more and more every day, because in a way that one thing is my
Notwithstanding the warm sunshine, she suddenly shivered. Francis took her hands in
his. They were cold and lifeless.
"I know that one thing, dear," he told her quietly.
She looked at him stonily. There was a questioning fear in her eyes.
"I know that your fattier killed Oliver Hilditch."
She suddenly broke out into a stream of words. There was passion in her tone and in her
eyes. She was almost the accuser.
"My father was right, then!" she exclaimed. "He told me this morning that he believed
that it was to you or to your friend at Scotland Yard that Walter had told his story. But
you don't know you don't know how terrible the temptation was how--you see I say it